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Rolling Meadows, IL Marijuana Lawyer

Over the years, states and national organizations have focused on preventing people from drinking and driving. Multiple ad campaigns have been launched telling people “friends do not let friends drive drunk,” and “buzzed driving is drunk driving.” Still, alcohol is not the only intoxicating substance that DUI laws cover. 

In the state of Illinois, citizens are not permitted to be under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or any combination of the two while they are in physical control of a motor vehicle. With the legalization of recreational marijuana in many states and the permittance of medical marijuana in a majority of states, driving under the influence of marijuana has become more prevalent.

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Arlington Heights drug crimes defense attorneyAlthough the use of medical marijuana is legal in the state of Illinois, there are numerous rules and regulations that one must follow to avoid the possibility of criminal penalties. This risk remains, even for those with severe or debilitating conditions. Learn more about how to prevent legal trouble as a medical marijuana user, and what you can do if you should find yourself facing drug possession charges.

Understanding the Rules and Regulations

To qualify as a medical marijuana user in the state of Illinois, one must be a resident of the state. Further, you must have a qualifying medical condition and be at least 18 years of age. Individuals must also complete a fingerprint-based criminal background check. Further, you cannot be an active member of law enforcement or a firefighter, and you cannot have a commercial driver’s license (this includes licenses required for operating a school bus). Failure to meet any of these requirements could bar you from receiving your medical marijuana card.

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Arlington Heights criminal defense lawyerAlthough the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not acknowledge marijuana as a prescription drug, there are currently 28 states with medical marijuana laws in place. Illinois is one of those states. Yet users should know legalization does not mean free reign. There are still regulations, stipulations, and limitations that must be followed, and any failure to do so can result in serious consequences. The following explains further.

Approved Conditions

Passed in 2013, and put into effect in 2014, the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Act currently includes 40 chronic diseases and conditions. Though not an exhaustive list, some of the most commonly covered conditions include:

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medical marijuana, child concerns, Arlington Heights criminal defense attorneyThe Illinois Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, which went into effect in January 2014, has some of the most stringent rules in the country, including requiring more than just a physician’s recommendation the patient be allowed to purchase medical marijuana. The state requires that there be a “bona fide” relationship between the doctor and patient, meaning that assessment and treatment of the medical condition are ongoing. Patients who apply are required to go through a background check conducted by the Illinois State Police and must be fingerprinted – all at their own expense. There are also a limited number of medical conditions which have been approved for the program. Medical marijuana can be ingested in several forms besides smoking including, candies, cookies, flour, lotions, skin patches, and vape juice.

Limitations for Parents

Even with all the strict rules in place, there is still a risk that a person who has been approved for the program could still face serious legal issues, particularly when it concerns parenting and employment. A parent who has been approved for the program is not permitted to smoke marijuana around children who are under the age of 18. According to the Act, as long as the rules are followed, a patient’s use of medical marijuana cannot affect a parent’s custody or visitation rights.

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Arlington Heights DUI attorney, illinois medical cannabis, DUI arrest, legal medical marijuana, medical marijuanIn August 2013, Illinois followed Colorado and Washington to become the twentieth state to legalize the medical use of cannabis under its Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act. Under this Act, medical marijuana is legal for registered users to treat symptoms of a statute-defined debilitating medical condition. Authorization of use includes the following qualifications:

  • User must be 18 years of age or older;
  • User must have written certification from an Illinois-licensed physician; and
  • User must be registered with the Department of Public Health.

With the passing of this Act, which went into effect January 1, 2014, there have been changes to DUI law. Prior to the Act, it was against the law for a person driving a motor vehicle to be under the influence of cannabis or have any trace of cannabis in the blood, breath or urine.

According to the Illinois State Bar Association, Illinois now legally allows registered users to operate a motor vehicle with cannabis in their systems, if they are not impaired. However, if a driver is pulled over and there is reasonable suspicion of impairment, a police officer can issue standardized field sobriety tests. Failure of the field tests or refusal to submit to testing results in a suspension of the person’s driver license, same as alcohol-related DUI offenders.

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