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Marijuana Laws in Illinois
This is a comprehensive guideline of Illinois marijuana laws for those interested in starting a cannabis business in this state. Illinois became the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana. According to the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, sales of adult-use cannabis to adults aged 21 and older in Illinois started on January 1, 2020.
The new law permitted medical cannabis dispensaries to apply for adult-use retail licenses in Illinois, allowing them to sell recreational marijuana in their dispensaries.
The doors for adult-use cannabis sales and consumption have opened, but with a queue of regulations and limitations to consider.
Adult-use marijuana laws in Illinois
Possession and consumption
Under marijuana laws in Illinois, adults over age 21 and older may legally possess, consume, and purchase cannabis in Illinois as of January 1, 2020. We want to highlight the major restrictions that fall under the possession and consumption rules.
Using marijuana in public is illegal. This includes streets, parks, and areas close to licensed dispensaries.
Using cannabis while driving in any vehicle (moving or not) under the influence of cannabis is illegal. Cannabis may be transported in a vehicle, but cannabis flowers must be placed in a child-resistant container during transportation.
Cannabis purchased in Illinois cannot be transported to another state.
Cannabis may be purchased at licensed dispensaries considering possession limitations that are the following:
- Illinois residents may possess 30 grams of marijuana, 500 milligrams of THC of cannabis-infused products, and 5 grams of cannabis concentrate.
- Non-residents may possess 15 grams of marijuana, 250 milligrams of THC from cannabis products, and 2.5 grams of cannabis concentrate.
The following penalties apply to marijuana prohibited possession based on the marijuana laws within the state:
- Up to 10 grams is a civil violation, punishable by a fine of $100 to $200.
- 10 up to 30 grams is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months’ imprisonment and a $1,500 fine.
- 30 up to 100 grams is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment of less than one year and a fine of up to $2,500.
- 100 up to 500 grams is a Class 4 felony, punishable by imprisonment of one to three years.
- 500 up to 2,000 grams is a Class 3 felony, punishable by imprisonment of two to five years.
- 2,000 up to 5,000 grams is a Class 2 felony, punishable by imprisonment of seven to 14 years.
- More than 5,000 grams is a Class 1 felony, punishable by imprisonment of four to 15 years.
An individual convicted of a felony faces a presumably fine of up to $25,000. Repeated convictions may be subject to enhanced penalties and mandatory minimum sentences.
An individual under 21 attempting to purchase marijuana using false identification commits a Class A misdemeanor. Using a fake ID or illegally possessing marijuana by an individual under 21 may result in suspension or revocation of driving privileges.
Growing cannabis at home
Under the marijuana laws in Illinois you may only grow cannabis if you have a Medical Cannabis Card. You must be 21 years or older. You can grow up to 5 cannabis plants in your home. They must be in a locked room, with no access to anyone under 21. It must be outside of public view and with permission from the owner.
A landlord can ban renters from growing cannabis on the property if the ban is in the lease. Renters may never grow cannabis in federally-subsidized housing.
Marijuana sale and delivery
- Selling or possessing with the intent to sell 2.5 grams or less of marijuana is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 6 months imprisonment and a maximum fine of $1,500.
- Selling or possessing with the intent to sell more than 2.5 – 10 grams of marijuana is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum sentence of 1 year in prison and a maximum fine of $2,500.
- Selling or possessing with the intent to sell more than 10 – 30 grams of marijuana is a Class 4 felony, punishable by a minimum sentence of 1 to 3 years and a maximum fine of $25,000.
- Selling or possessing with the intent to sell more than 30 – 500 grams of marijuana is a Class 3 felony, punishable by a minimum sentence of 2 to 5 years and a maximum fine of $50,000.
- Selling or possessing with the intent to sell more than 500 – 2,000 grams of marijuana is a Class 2 felony, punishable by a minimum imprisonment of 3 to 7 years and a maximum fine of $100,000.
- Selling or possessing with the intent to sell more than 2,000 – 5,000 grams of marijuana is a Class 1 felony, punishable by imprisonment of 4 to 15 years and a maximum fine of $150,000.
- Selling, manufacturing, or possessing with the intent to sell, more than 5,000 grams of marijuana is a Class X felony, punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of 6 to 30 years and a maximum fine of $200,000.
Delivery on school grounds
- Any individual delivering up to 2.5 grams of cannabis on school grounds is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a fine not exceeding $2,500 for each offense and a term of imprisonment of less than one year.
- Any individual delivering more than 2.5 – 10 grams of cannabis on school grounds is guilty of a Class 4 felony, punishable by a fine up to $25,000 and a term of imprisonment of 1 – 3 years.
- Any individual delivering more than 10 – 30 grams of cannabis on school grounds is guilty of a Class 3 felony, the fine for which shall not exceed $50,000 and a term of imprisonment of 2 – 5 years.
- Any individual delivering more than 30 – 500 grams of cannabis on school grounds is guilty of a Class 2 felony, the fine for which shall not exceed $100,000 and a term of imprisonment of 3 – 7 years.
- Any individual delivering more than 500 – 2000 g on any school grounds is guilty of a Class 1 felony, the fine for which shall not exceed $200,000 and a term of imprisonment of 4 – 15 years.
Medical Marijuana Laws in Illinois
Medical marijuana has been legal in Illinois since January 1, 2014. If you qualify for the medical conditions specified by the State of Illinois, you may purchase marijuana at licensed retail facilities.
According to the marijuana laws Qualifying patients who use medical marijuana for treatment in Illinois may buy 2.5 ounces of cannabis every 14 days at their registered dispensary. If medical patients choose to grow their medical cannabis, they are allowed to possess more than 30 grams of medical marijuana under certain conditions. For recreational weed users in Illinois, the cannabis possession limit is as follows: 30 grams of cannabis flower, 5 grams of cannabis concentrate, and 500 milligrams or less of THC in a cannabis-infused product.
A registered medical cannabis patient may cultivate up to 5 plants. An adult who is not a registered medical cannabis patient that cultivates less than five plants is guilty of a civil violation punishable by a maximum fine of $200.
Only medical marijuana patients with medical marijuana cards may cultivate cannabis. Recreational marijuana users are not permitted to grow their cannabis in the state of Illinois.
There are the following qualifying conditions patients can use medical cannabis for based on the marijuana laws:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Anorexia nervosa
- “Any medical condition for which an opioid has been or could be prescribed by a physician based on generally accepted standards of care”
- Arnold Chiari malformation
- Cachexia/wasting syndrome
- Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy
- Chronic pain
- Complex regional pain syndrome type 2
- Crohn’s Disease
- Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
- Fibrous dysplasia
- Hepatitis C
- Interstitial Cystitis
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Myasthenia Gravis
- Nail patella syndrome
- Neuro-Behcet’s autoimmune disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Polycystic kidney disease
- Post-traumatic stress
- Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD)
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Sjogren’s syndrome
- Spinal cord disease
- Spinocerebellar Ataxia (SCA)
- Superior canal dehiscence syndrome
- Tarlov cysts
- Tourette’s syndrome
- Traumatic brain injury and post-concussion syndrome
- Ulcerative colitis
Caregivers under the marijuana laws may serve only one patient and are allowed to pick up medical cannabis for very ill, homebound patients considering possession limits.
Cannabis Advertising Laws in Illinois
Based on the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, cannabis businesses may not engage in advertising that:
- Is false or misleading;
- Promotes overconsumption of cannabis or cannabis products;
- Depicts the actual consumption of cannabis or cannabis products;
- Depicts a person under 21 years of age consuming cannabis;
- Makes any health, medicinal, or therapeutic claims about cannabis or cannabis-infused products;
- Includes the image of a cannabis leaf or bud;
- Includes any image designed or likely to appeal to minors, including cartoons, toys, animals, children, or any other that resembles images, characters, or phrases designed to appeal to or encourage consumption of persons under 21 years of age.
According to the marijuana laws in Illinois, advertising regulations refer to promotional operations, including newspaper, radio, internet, and electronic media, and advertising; the display of window and interior signs.
No advertisement of cannabis or cannabis products is permitted in any form: within 1,000 feet of school grounds, a playground, a recreation center or facility, a child care center, a public park or public library, on or in a public transit vehicle or public transit shelter, or on or in publicly owned or publicly operated property.
Labeling and Packaging Laws Marijuana in Illinois
Under the marijuana laws in Illinois, section 1000.140 of the Illinois Administrative Code, all cannabis products, recreational or medical, must be registered with the Department and include a label and the required registration fee.
All harvested cannabis intended for distribution must be packaged in sealed and labeled containers that are child-resistant and light-resistant. All packages must comply with the standards of the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Poison Prevention Act.
Packaging and labeling shall not include false or misleading information, promote overconsumption, depict persons under 21 consuming products, or include cannabis leaf or anything appealing to minors, such as cartoons, toys, animals, etc.
When labeling cannabis or cannabis products, the labels need to be fixed to the package and have information in English. The information needs to include the name and P.O. box of a cultivation center, a common name of an item, and the registered name of the product as registered with the Department. The information needs to include a unique serial number that matches the producer batch in case of recalls, date of final testing/packaging, manufacture, use by date, quantity in ounces or grams in a container, and the pass/fail rating if sampled.
As for medical cannabis according to the marijuana laws, the following information needs to be on labels; “Product is for medical use and not for resale or transfer to another person.”
All cannabis products must be wrapped individually. In descending order, labels must also list all ingredients, including colors, artificial flavors, or preservatives under common names.
A warning that the item is a medical cannabis product must be clear and legible on the front of the packaging. The total milligram content of THC and CBD must be listed even if the cannabis product is wrapped individually or has multiple servings, and the total active THC may not include more than 100 milligrams. It is a violation of the regulation to alter or destroy attached labels.
The requirements for recreational cannabis packaging and labeling don’t differ much from medical requirements other than packaging must also be smell-proof and may exceed 100mg of THC if separated into single servings of 10mg or less.
Warnings on labels must include the following statements:
“This product contains cannabis and is intended for adults 21 and over. Its use can impair cognition and may be habit-forming. Pregnant or breastfeeding women must not use this product. It is unlawful to sell or provide this item to any individual, and may not be transported outside the State of Illinois. Operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of cannabis is illegal. Possession or use of this product may carry significant legal penalties in some jurisdictions and under federal law.”
“Cannabis that may be smoked must contain a statement that “Smoking is hazardous to your health.”
“Cannabis-infused products (other than those intended for topical application) must contain a statement. “CAUTION: This product contains cannabis, and intoxication following use may be delayed two or more hours. This product was produced in a facility that cultivates cannabis and may also process common food allergens.”
“Cannabis-infused products intended for topical application must contain a statement “DO NOT EAT” in bold, capital letters.”
Please consider that the guideline presented above regarding marijuana laws in Illinois carries an informational character and should not be construed as legal advice.
The laws are constantly changing and updating, so be sure to comply with the necessary regulations to operate your cannabis business in Illinois.