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IL defense lawyerFor years, people have been fighting for medical marijuana to be legal. Many people say there are numerous health benefits to using marijuana as a therapeutic way to cope with certain diseases and disorders. In fact, it is not uncommon for people to be medical marijuana patients anymore - it has been reported that there are over two million legal medical marijuana patients in the 29 states and the District of Columbia that have begun to make medical marijuana usage legal.

Prior to Illinois House Bill 4870, also known as Ashley’s Law, children who were using cannabis as a medical treatment could not use their medical marijuana medication while they were at school. The bill, which the Illinois governor signed into effect last week, allows parents to give a “cannabis-infused product” to their children while they are on school grounds or on a school bus. Cannabis-infused products can be foods, oils, patches, ointments or other cannabis products that are not smoked. The bill also prohibits schools from taking disciplinary action against students who use cannabis-infused products for medical reasons.

Bill Is Known as Ashley’s Law

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Illinois DUI defense lawyerAlthough medical marijuana use is permitted in the state of Illinois, individuals who are registered patients may be at constant risk for a DUI. Furthermore, medical marijuana users may experience other charges along with their DUI. Learn more about the state’s legal marijuana limits, potential consequences of a DUI conviction, and how an experienced attorney can help protect your rights.

Illinois’ Marijuana DUI Limits

Prior to 2016, Illinois did not have a specific marijuana limit for drivers. Instead, they had a zero-tolerance policy. Unfortunately, this set many medical users up for DUIs, regardless of their sobriety status at the time of being arrested. After 2016, the law provided a provision in which users could avoid a DUI, provided their blood THC content was less than five nanograms and/or saliva was under 10 nanograms. In addition, marijuana users may be subject to additional charges if they were in an accident or had an open container in their vehicle at the time of arrest.

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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 DUI defense attorneyIn 2014, the medicinal use of marijuana became legal in the state of Illinois. State law also made a provision for these users that is supposed to protect them if they choose to drive while not directly under the influence. Are they really protected, though? Like all things, it really just depends. Some might even argue that medical marijuana users are at an even higher risk of being charged with a DUI. The following information explains, and it can help you understand what to do if you are facing such charges.

Driving Protection to Medical Marijuana Users? Not Quite

While, in theory, the Medical Cannabis Act gives you the ability to drive with trace amounts of the drug in your system (supposedly without the fear of litigation), reckless driving of any sort could put you at risk for a DUI. As an example, holding a registry card is not supposed to be considered enough to constitute reasonable suspicion. Yet, if you pair that registration card with running a red light (even entirely sober), the officer can cite reasonable suspicion and require you to complete a field sobriety test. Of course, passing the test should be easy, as long as you are not under the influence, right?

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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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