New Marijuana/Cannabis Civil Law
In 2016 marijuana possession law was changed from a misdemeanor offense to a civil offense. This means that a charge of possession under 10 grams is only punishable by a fine. And no criminal charge will appear on a criminal background check. The law is now consistent with almost 20 other states.
The Old Law - Possession of Marijuana/Cannabis was a Misdemeanor OffenseThe old statute 720 ILCS 550/1, et. seq. held that possession of any amount of cannabis was a criminal violation. The amount seized dictated what class of crime. 2.5 grams or less was a class C misdemeanor. Over 2.5 to 10 grams was a Class B misdemeanor. Over 10 to 30 grams was a Class A misdemeanor and any amount over 30 grams was a felony. The affirmative defense of possession a medical marijuana card was available to any person charged with these offenses (410 ILCS 130/5, et. seq.). This old version of law was modified on July 29, 2016.
The New Law - Under 10 Grams Cannabis Possession is Now a Civil ViolationOn July 29, 2016 the law changed to create a civil offense for possession of marijuana/cannabis less than 10 grams. The possible penalty is now a fine between $100-$200. This is authorized in 720 ILCS 550/4(a). Any amount possessed over 10 grams is still a criminal violation.
The law was changed due to popular public support legalizing small possession amounts. Again, the possession of a medical marijuana card is an affirmative defense to possession charges (410 ILCS 130/5 et. seq). Even with a medical card the maximum amount one may possess is 2.5 ounces (70 grams).