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Rolling Meadows, IL expungement attorney

Beginning in early 2020, the state of Illinois legalized the sale, purchase, and use of recreational marijuana, effectively decriminalizing the substance in most situations. The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (CRTA) made it legal for most adults over the age of 21 to consume, sell, or purchase cannabis. The Act also contained important legislation detailing the process and timeframe for expungement, sealing, or pardoning of eligible marijuana-related criminal records. Now more than one year later, nearly 500,000 non-felony marijuana-related arrest records have been expunged. Expungement of your prior cannabis-related arrest records can have a very positive effect on your life. 

Expungements and Pardons

In Illinois, there is usually a pretty strict process with fairly tough requirements when it comes to getting a criminal record expunged or pardoned by the governor. However, with the passing of the CRTA, hundreds of thousands of criminal records became eligible for expungement or pardoning across the state.

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Arlington Heights, IL drug charges defense attorney

Last May, the state of Illinois became the 11th state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. The new law went into effect on January 1, 2020. According to dispensaries across the state, there has been more than $5.5 million worth of recreational marijuana sold since it has been legal. Even though recreational cannabis has been legalized in Illinois, there are still certain laws that apply to marijuana usage. If these laws are broken -- even unintentionally -- you could face legal consequences. Here are a few things you should keep in mind about recreational marijuana usage in Illinois:

  1. You Can Only Possess Certain Amounts of Pot at Any Given Time

As long as you are over the age of 21, you can legally purchase and possess certain amounts of marijuana and cannabis-infused products. At any given time, you can legally possess up to one ounce or up to 30 grams of dry marijuana flower, up to 500mg of THC contained in edibles or other cannabis-infused products, and up to five grams of cannabis concentrate. Visitors to Illinois are permitted to possess half of those amounts.

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Rolling Meadows, IL drug charges defense attorney

Following the trend of many other states in the United States, Illinois has adjusted its legal policies regarding marijuana. Illinois has seen an evolution of the state’s acceptance of this form of drugs. Initially, marijuana was illegal, then medical marijuana use became acceptable, and soon after recreational use followed suit. Illinois may be the eleventh state in the country to legalize marijuana; however, its policies are not uniform to those in other states. Due to these recent legal changes, it is important to note what is considered acceptable and what remains illegal in Illinois to avoid facing drug charges in the future.

House Bill 1438 Explained

This past June, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed HB 1438 into law, legalizing recreational marijuana. Under this new law, adults will be legally able to use and sell marijuana for more than just medical purposes. This law goes into effect on January 1, 2020, giving those who are 21 and older a new sense of freedom regarding marijuana use that did not previously exist in Illinois.

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Arlington Heights drug crimes defense attorney

For decades, recreational marijuana use has been illegal in most of the United States. In recent years, more states have legalized the use of recreational cannabis. Illinois became the latest state to legalize the use of marijuana for adults on May 31, 2019. This comes as a surprise to many, because Illinois is the first state to approve a recreational marijuana bill through the legislature rather than a voter referendum. This means big legal changes could be coming for people who face or have faced criminal charges relating to cannabis.

Illinois Makes History

The passing of this Illinois bill is monumental for the United States. No other state has passed laws to allow legal commercial sales of marijuana through the legislature. Vermont legislature allowed for the recreational possession of marijuana, but not sales, which were passed through a referendum. Recreational marijuana will be treated and taxed similarly to alcohol, in that only those who are over the age of 21 are permitted to purchase or use it.

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Arlington Heights criminal defense attorneysEven as other states began legalizing the possession of marijuana, and cities throughout Illinois began to decriminalize it, Illinois held steadfast to the laws that put hundreds of low-level, nonviolent offenders in jail. That has all changed, thanks to the recent passing of Senate Bill 2228. Understand what this bill means for you and your family, and how it may affect you in the future, should you find yourself stopped with marijuana on your person.

Possession Under 10 Grams No Longer a Criminal Offense

Prior to the bill, possession of 2.5 grams of marijuana or less was charged as a Class C misdemeanor, which carried a jail term of up to 30 days. Possession of 2.5 to 10 grams was charged as a Class B misdemeanor, which carried up to a six month jail term. Conviction on either level also resulted in significant fines. Effective immediately, these laws are no longer considered valid. Instead, possession of 10 grams or less is now considered a civil offense, which limits the punishment of being caught with it in your possession to a fine of $200.

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