What Are The New Marijuana Laws In Illinois?
In big news splashed across the front page, the Governor of Illinois has signed into law decriminalizing possession of marijuana under 10 grams or less. Anyone caught with less than 10 grams, will now be charged a petty offense, equivalent to a parking ticket. Marijuana possession previously was considered a class B misdemeanor and carried up to six months in jail or a $1,500 fine.
It is, however, important to mention that after one year under this new law, the case expunges itself and it is no longer on a person’s record at all.
Keep in mind if someone is charged with intent to deliver that is different. For example, if police suspect an individual is a drug dealer, even if they have less than 10 grams of marijuana, he or she can still be charged with a more serious criminal offense.
These changes in the law trickle over into a couple of other categories concerning marijuana law as well, such as the DUI law. Up until recently, the DUI laws for marijuana were very archaic. Previously if there was any amount of marijuana in someone’s system detected and they were under suspicion of DUI, it was presumed it was presumed he or she was under the influence.
For example, if a person smoked marijuana 27 days earlier and was pulled over and was under suspicion of DUI and asked to take a blood test, marijuana would still be traceable in his or her system for at least 30 days; depending on how much was ingested. Even 27 days later, if there was a trace amount in the person’s blood, it was charged as an automatic DUI.
Attorney Barry Boches feels it never made sense in Illinois. As part of any DUI, there are possible criminal penalties which may include the administrative penalty of having your driver’s license suspended up to a year or 6 months. Additionally to that people were subject to the possibility of being required to have an interlock ignition device in stalled in his or her vehicle. This didn’t make any sense because a breathalyzer machine has nothing to do with marijuana.
Now, with a new law, there has to be a measurable 5 nanograms of blood of THC, which is the active ingredient of marijuana, in a person’s blood in order to charge the individual with a DUI. That means if someone smoked marijuana last week and is pulled over today, he or she should not be charged for driving under the influence; that is a huge difference.
Additionally, the laws have changed regarding unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia. That law too was quite archaic and originally pointed at trying to target the head shops and put them out of business. The law previously said that anyone caught with drug paraphernalia, would get hit with a minimum $750 to $2500 fine and up to a year in jail. Now with the new laws, if someone is caught with paraphernalia and it is determined that it was for marijuana use, then it will only be a petty offense as well. This too will expunge itself over time. That does not, however, write off all drug paraphernalia. For example, if someone is found with needles or a spoon, they could still be charged by the previous drug paraphernalia standards.
Attorney Boches suspects that with the passing of the new and more relaxed marijuana laws in Illinois, that that requirements for medical marijuana have or will change as well.
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