Four Important Facts to Know About Marijuana Possession Charges in Illinois
Although a wave of marijuana legalization is currently sweeping the nation, marijuana possession is still a criminal offense in Illinois. Like many other offenses, marijuana possession is not charged in a “one size fits all” manner.
How much cannabis an individual had at the time of his or her arrest, whether the court can prove that he or she intended to sell it, and whether the individual could legally possess cannabis for medical reasons all impact the charge and penalties he or she faces.
How Much Marijuana you had at the Time of your Arrest Matters
The possession of more than 10 grams of marijuana is a criminal offense. Possession of up to 30 grams is a misdemeanor offense. Possession of more than 30 grams of marijuana is a felony offense, charged according to how much the individual had at the time of his or her arrest. The maximum charge for marijuana possession for personal use is a Class 1 felony, which can be applied if the individual had more than 5,000 grams at the time of his or her arrest.
You Can Legally Possess Marijuana in Illinois – With a Prescription
Illinois has a medical marijuana program in place that allows individuals with qualifying conditions to purchase and use cannabis to manage symptoms of their conditions. Qualifying conditions include, but are not limited to:
- Tourette’s Syndrome; and
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Only patients or their caregivers may purchase and possess medical marijuana.
Charges for Small Amounts of Marijuana are Automatically Expunged
In 2016, Senate Bill 2228 was signed into law. This law decriminalized the possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana in Illinois, which means that although it is not actually legal to possess marijuana, the possession of a small amount is not a criminal offense. Rather, it is a civil offense similar to a traffic ticket.
If you are charged with the possession of 10 grams of marijuana or less and you pay the fine, the charge is automatically expunged six months later.
Possession with the Intent to Deliver is a Whole Different Type of Charge
Unlike the possession of marijuana for personal use, the possession of marijuana with the intent to sell or deliver it to another individual is always a criminal offense. How much an individual had at the time of his or her arrest determines how the offense is charged. For 2.5 grams or less, the individual faces a Class B misdemeanor charge. The highest charge for this offense, a Class X felony, may be applied if the individual possessed 5,000 grams or more of marijuana.
Work with an Experienced Naperville Criminal Defense Attorney
Even a charge for possessing a small amount of marijuana can have an impact on your life. If you are facing this type of charge, work with an experienced Naperville criminal defense lawyer to defend your case. Contact our team at Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa, LLC today to schedule your initial consultation with us.