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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 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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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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marijuana DUI in Illinois, criminal defense lawyerA new government study addresses the issue of driving while under the influence of marijuana. This report is especially timely given that more and more states are passing new statutes allowing the use of medical marijuana.

According to the study, which was conducted by the Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), people who are driving while under the influence of marijuana were at a much lower risk of getting into a car accident than drivers who are under the influence of alcohol.

The report, Drug and Alcohol Crash Risk, contains the results of the NHTSA’s 20 month study. And according to that data, there is not a substantial change in the car accident risk for people who have smoked marijuana before they get behind the wheel of a car. However, drivers who have blood alcohol content (BAC) even as low as .05 increases have almost seven times the risk of crashing than someone who is sober.

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