Nowadays, a number of states have legalized weed. Some have "okayed" cannabis recreationally, some medically, and some both.
Illinois has both types. And, just like every other legal state, it has laws. These laws govern who can have weed and how much. Further, they govern who can grow it and who can sell it.
There are differences in the rules for medical and recreational users. They regulate how much and what kind of weed either kind of cannabis consumer can have. And they regulate the total amount of THC in the marijuana merchandise you buy.
There are even guidelines for out-of-state shoppers. The legislature has been quite thorough in enacting laws to govern the use of ganja. Let's go over Illinois marijuana laws – both recreational and medical.
Let's start with when this all began.
The legalization of cannabis in the United States began with medical use in California in 1996. Following that, Washington and Colorado were the first states to legalize recreational in 2012.
Illinois approved a limited medical marijuana program in 2013. Recreational weed was approved by the legislature to begin in January of 2020.
There are some notable differences between the two categories of weed laws.
We’ll look at those distinctions in depth.
The state’s Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act took effect on July 15, 2014. It allowed for 35 qualifying conditions. Notably, at the time, qualifiers did not include chronic pain, the main reason for most medical use.
A qualified doctor must attest that marijuana is a necessary medicine for applicants. Anyone 18 years old and up can apply for a license. In some instances, adults can apply for caregiver licenses for minor children.
There have been significant adjustments to rules for patients since 2014. For instance, chronic pain has been added to the acceptable conditions list. The opioid crisis was a major motivator for expanding medical marijuana access.
How much can cannabis cardholders acquire?
Pot patients in the Land of Lincoln, as Illinois is known, can get 2.5 ounces, or 71 grams, of ganja within a two-week period.
They may own up to 5 grams of concentrates.
They may have up to 500 mg of THC period.
Flower, edibles, and concentrates cannot exceed 500mg of total THC.
Should a doctor indicate, cardholders can get waivers for more weed through the state.
Plants are also possible for patients to get and grow, but they are limited to five. As with many states, cannabis crops must be kept out of public view. Using weed is also restricted to private, personal spaces.
Cannabis consumers with a med license can also purchase through registered caregivers. These agents can only serve one patient at a time. They can also pick up marijuana medicine for homebound patients. Caregiver cannabis has the same limits as other medical marijuana licenses.
How are laws and limits different for casual users?
In 2016, the state did decriminalize possessing less than 10 grams of marijuana. For small amounts, the penalty was set at $200.
January 2020 was the beginning of recreational use in the state. The law stipulates an age limit of 21 years or older.
As with pretty much every other state, it is prohibited to use cannabis products in public. Transportation must be in sealed containers stored away from anyone driving an automobile. Obviously, driving while high is a crime.
Breaking weed laws have severe consequences.
For instance, holding more than 30 to 100 grams of marijuana is considered a Class A misdemeanor. And that is punished by up to a year in prison, plus a potential fine of $2500.
Only licensed dispensaries can sell weed, recreational or otherwise. Individuals cannot sell cannabis to anyone else. Nor can individuals grow their own plants without a medical license.
Individual localities in Illinois can decide if they want to allow provisioning centers. They cannot supersede state laws about personal use or possession. You can find out where to legally buy weed from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. Or by searching here on Cannasaver, especially in the Chicago area.
Cannabis consumers must show a valid ID. You must prove you are 21 years old or older. All sales are cash because, at this time, credit cards cannot be used.
There is an allowance for out-of-state users to buy recreationally. They also need a valid ID from their own state. Visitors have reduced amounts they can purchase, as detailed below.
Suffice to say, tourists also face stiff penalties if they possess over the legal limits.
All that said, how much can recreational users buy?
As indicated above, the regulations are different for casual cannabis use.
Those without a med license can get up to an ounce of herb. Cannabis concentrates are limited to 5 grams. And edibles or tinctures are restricted to 500 milligrams of THC.
The total limit is 500 milligrams.
That’s all of the THC altogether between flower, concentrates, and edibles.
That’s the rub in Illinois – they restrict the amount of THC in the weed you buy. So, you can purchase less weed with higher THC levels. These limits are for a two-week period – thus every two weeks you can buy and own up to the restrictions.
As previously mentioned, out of staters can get recreational cannabis in Illinois. However, they are restricted to half the amount locals can get. So, that’s a half-ounce of flower and 2.5 grams of concentrate. The total THC cap is 250 milligrams. That’s everything - flower, edibles, and concentrates added together.
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