Will Illinois decriminalize small amounts of marijuana?

The Illinois General Assembly is considering a bill (HB4299) which would decriminalize possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana.  Under the law, such an amount would be a fine only petty offense as opposed to a misdemeanor.

Here is the summary of the bill:

Amends the Cannabis Control Act. Provides that the knowing possession of not more than 10 grams of any substance containing cannabis is a petty offense with a fine not exceeding $100 (rather than a Class C or B misdemeanor). Provides that the knowing possession of more than 10 grams but not more than 30 grams of any substance containing cannabis is a petty offense with a fine not exceeding $100 for a first offense (rather than a Class A misdemeanor) and a Class A misdemeanor for a subsequent offense (rather than a Class 4 felony). Provides that the knowing possession of more than 30 grams but not more than 500 grams of any substance containing cannabis is a Class A misdemeanor (rather than a Class 4 felony). Provides that the knowing manufacture, delivery, or possession with intent to deliver, or manufacture of not more than 10 grams of any substance containing cannabis is a petty offense with a fine not to exceed $100 (rather than a Class B or A misdemeanor). Provides that the knowing manufacture, delivery, or possession with intent to deliver, or manufacture of more than 10 grams but nor more than 30 grams of any substance containing cannabis is a Class A misdemeanor (rather than a Class 4 felony). Provides that the production or possession of not more than 5 cannabis sativa plants is a petty offense with a fine not exceeding $100 (rather than a Class A misdemeanor). Provides that the production or possession of more than 5 but not more than 20 cannabis sativa plants is a Class A misdemeanor (rather than a Class 4 felony).

If this passes, it would necessitate a change in Illinois’ DUI laws, which make it a DUI if a person drives with any amount of cannabis in his or her blood or urine, regardless of impairment.  In other words, currently a person could smoke marijuana and be charged with a DUI two weeks later, because traces of it are still in the person’s system.

Other states, like Colorado, have passed laws setting a “legal limit” at which point there is a presumption that a person is presumed impaired.  This is not a perfect solution, because different people have different points of impairment, but it certainly is better than the “zero tolerance” law that Illinois has now and makes no sense.

One thought on “Will Illinois decriminalize small amounts of marijuana?

  1. Pingback: Illinois is taking its first steps towards marijuana legalization | illinoisduilawyer

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