Governor Rauner signed into law SB 92228, which makes possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana a fine only offense, and sets a new legal limit for operating under the influence of cannabis, replacing a zero tolerance standard and replacing it with a new “legal limit” of 5 nanograms of THC per mililiter of whole blood (or 10 nanograms in saliva or other bodily substance).
Not affected by this change is the previous law that also made it a DUI offense to drive or be in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of cannabis.
The fine for marijuana possession under 10 grams will be a minimum of $100 and a maximum of $200. Anyone cited for possession of marijuana paraphernalia at the same time will only be subject to a fine in a similar amount.
Since possession of marijuana under 10 grams is now a civil violation instead of a criminal offense, the legislature was able to ease the prosecution’s burden of proof. A crime lab testing showing that the substance was tested and proven to be marijuana is no longer required; the prosecution can establish its case either through opinion testimony by the arresting officer (with the proper foundation) or use of a properly conducted field test.
Under the new law, anyone fined for possession of marijuana in an amount less than 10 grams will have their citation automatically expunged, if they have paid their fine and completed their sentence. The Clerk is to expunge these cases twice a year, on or before January 1 and July 1.