Personal Use of Cannabis in Illinois
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What do the new Illinois weed laws say about the personal use of cannabis in Illinois?
A new law legalizing the use of recreational marijuana is was passed in Illinois on May 31, 2019. The state beaome the 11th in the country to allow the use of recreational marijuana, but the first state to legalize cannabis by legislative process.
According to this new cannabis law, “the General Assembly finds and declares that the use of cannabis should be legal for persons 21 years of age or older.”
Illinois Weed Laws
Below we discuss the new Illinois Weed Laws that are now in effective from January 1, 2020, and onwards. Remember that cannbis laws evolve fast, so always check back in for the most current cannabis laws in Illinois.
Illinois Has No Marijuana Laws
Illinois replaced the term “marijuana” with its biological name, Cannabis, many years ago. Even during prohibition, Illinois referred to marijuana as cannabis. That continues today with the new Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act.
Who is allowed to Sell Cannabis?
In the beginning, only licensed dispensaries will be allowed to sell medical marijuana when the bill becomes law in January 2020. More licenses will be granted to other stores by the middle of the year.
Already, there are a good number of dispensaries in different parts of the state. By the start of 2020, it is predicted that close to 300 stores will be selling marijuana.
However, it will still be up to the municipal and county government to decide whether marijuana sellers can operate in their areas of jurisdiction.
Where can you Smoke Cannabis?
According to the new law, cannabis smoking will be allowed at home and within the marijuana sellers’ premises. However, smoking will be prohibited in the following areas:
- Public areas, such as streets and parks
- In motor vehicles whether personal or otherwise
- Near police offices, or close to school bus drivers who are still on duty
- Within a school setting. However, exemptions are made for the case of medical marijuana
- Close to anyone who is under the age of 21
While smoking marijuana at the confines of your home is allowed, property owners have a right to prohibit the same within their premises. Colleges and universities will also be allowed to prohibit weed smoking within the institutions.
Amount of Weed One Can Possess
According to the law, residents of Illinois will be allowed to possess 30 grams of cannabis flower, 5 grams of cannabis concentrate, and 500 milligrams of cannabis infused products. Cannabis infused products include tinctures and edibles.
A sales tax will be applied for all marijuana products. For instance, products whose THC is less than 35% will have a sales tax of 10%. Edibles and any cannabis infused products will be taxed at 20%. Products with a THC concentration of over 35% will have a sales tax of approximately 25%.
Aside from the sales tax, a 7% gross tax will be imposed on marijuana sold by growers to dispensaries. It is highly likely that, at the end of the day, this cost will be passed to the consumer.
Where Will the Cannabis for Sale Come From?
Currently, there are 20 marijuana cultivation facilities in Illinois. At the beginning of January 2020, these will be the only facilities that will be allowed to grow marijuana. Within the year, craft growers interested in growing marijuana will be allowed to submit their license applications. Licenses will be given to facilities that can grow up to 5000 square feet of weed.
How many plants can you grow in Illinois?
- Marijuana cultivation will be legal for those who take marijuana for medical purposes.
- These patients will be permitted to grow 5 marijuana plants at any given time.
- On the other hand, recreational marijuana users will not be allowed to plant marijuana in their homes.
- Doing so will attract a civil penalty fine of $200.
Who is Allowed to Grow Cannabis in Illinois
If you are registered under the compassionate use of medical cannabis program, and are within the age limit set by the law, you are legible to grow marijuana. You also need to be a resident of this state to be allowed to grow weed at home. According to this law, a resident is “A person who is domiciled in the state for 30 days.”
If you grow marijuana, you have to tend for the plants. You can have an agent do this for you for a short duration when you are away. That said, the plants should not be accessed or used by other unauthorized people.
Home Growing Cannabis in Illinois?
According to the law, marijuana plants will have to be grown in an enclosed and locked-up place. This will ensure that the plants cannot be accessed by unauthorized persons. It will be illegal to grow the plants in a place where the public can easily access.
Additionally, anyone who is registered to grow the cannabis plant is prohibited from giving the plant or any cannabis-infused product to neighbors, friends, or any other person for that matter. Doing this will not only attract a penalty, but will also lead to revocation of the home growing right.
Where to Get Cannabis Seeds?
Marijuana seeds will be offered in different dispensaries licensed to sell marijuana products. It will be illegal to buy seeds on behalf of another person. Only those who are registered under compassionate use will be allowed to buy seeds and grow the cannabis plants without a license.
Cannabis Use and Possession by People Under Age 21
According to the new law, possession of cannabis by anyone below the age of 21 will be a criminal offense. Punishment for such offenses will depend on the circumstances at hand, and may include:
- Revocation of driving license if the person is driving a vehicle at the time they committed the offense
- Fine of not less than $500 if a parent or guardian allows anyone below the age limit to use marijuana
- Jail term if there are other crimes that have been committed while under the influence of marijuana
While you will be required to produce identification documents to verify your age when buying marijuana products, your personal information will be protected for privacy purposes. The sellers will not be required to record your personal information. If they do, they will need to first get your consent.
Once this bill becomes law, those who want to take marijuana for recreational or medical purposes will have an easier time getting the marijuana products they need. They will also get value for their money because all business transactions will be done in accordance with the law.
However, those who are below the age of 21 must keep off from using or possessing marijuana, and any of its associated products because this can land them in trouble with law enforcement officers.
Cannabis in Illinois – Laws, Use, and History
In 2019, Illinois became the eleventh US state to legalise recreational cannabis use. As of 2020, individuals can possess up to 30 grams of cannabis flowers, which can be purchased from licenced vendors and dispensaries. Cannabis cultivation is still illegal though, unless it’s for medicinal purposes, and the grower has a Medical Marijuana card.
- Recreational cannabis
- Medicinal cannabis
- Legal since 2013
Cannabis laws in Illinois
The US is governed by federal and state laws. This article covers the cannabis laws in the state of Illinois. For US federal laws, please visit this page.
Can you possess and use cannabis in Illinois?
In June 2019, Illinois’ Democratic Governor J.B. Pritzker signed the bill to legalise recreational cannabis in the state. This makes Illinois the eleventh state in the US to do so. They are also the US’s first state to legalise recreational cannabis through its legislature.
The legalization came into effect on January 1 st , 2020, and all adults aged 21 and older may purchase recreational cannabis from licensed retailers in Illinois. The bill states:
- A medical cannabis card won’t be required to purchase it.
- Using cannabis is permitted in the individual’s home, or on-site in approved cannabis-related premises.
- Use is forbidden in any public place, in a motor vehicle, or on the grounds of an educational establishment. Students with medical marijuana cards may continue to use the drug at school, as per their physician’s guidelines.
- Cannabis use is also forbidden near anyone under the age of 21.
- It’s also forbidden near a police officer, firefighter, corrections officer, or on-duty school bus driver.
Purchase and possession limits for recreational cannabis are slightly different for Illinois residents and non-residents:
- For instate residents, 30 grams of cannabis flower, 5 grams of concentrates, or 500 mg of cannabis-infused edibles, can be purchased.
- Non-residents can purchase 15 grams of cannabis flower, 2.5 grams of concentrate, or 250 mg of cannabis-infused products.
Illinois’ government has proposed tax rates on cannabis purchases. For cannabis flowers or other products containing under 35% of THC, there will be a 10% sales tax. Products infused with cannabis (such as tinctures or edibles) will have a 20% tax. Any other cannabis product with THC levels of over 35% will come with a 25% tax. Individual counties and cities in Illinois may also add extra local sales taxes.
The legislation proposes that the tax revenue will be used to regenerate poorer communities. When speaking about the changes to the law, Gov. Pritzker commented: “Legalising adult-use cannabis brings an important and overdue change to our state, and it’s the right thing to do.”
Existing criminal records for cannabis possession
In addition to legalising recreational cannabis, the new law may also expunge cannabis-possession criminal records for 800,000 people in the state.
Anyone with an existing conviction for possessing under 30 grams of cannabis will have their records sent to a Prisoner Review Board. Once reviewed, they’ll be passed on to Gov. J.B. Pritzker for a pardon. Providing the offences aren’t connected with a violent crime, the record will be expunged.
Can you sell cannabis in Illinois?
Previously, only patients holding a valid Medical Cannabis card could purchase medicinal cannabis in Illinois. On June 25, 2019, Illinois made history by becoming the 11th state to legalize recreational cannabis. Since the 1 st of January, 2020, adults aged 21 and older may purchase recreational cannabis from licensed retailers in Illinois.
Indeed, the early signs are promising. In September 2020, recreational cannabis sales hit a record high, with close to $64 million worth of the drug being sold in the previous month alone. In 2020, total sales reached $1.03 billion, including $669 million in recreational cannabis and more than $366 million in medicinal purchases.
In May 2021, according to the state of Illinois, throughout the 110 licensed dispensaries, over 2.5 million cannabis products were sold. State residents accounted for approximately $80 million, and sales increased from out of state residents who spent close to $37 million on cannabis related products.
MJBizDaily estimates that as many as 295 stores could be up and running by 2022, which would be 2.3 stores per 100,000 residents.
Kris Krane, one of the founders and president of 4Front Holdings, commented: “It’s a state of 13 million people with a very large tourist population in the Chicago area, so I think the business opportunities are huge.”
Can you grow cannabis in Illinois?
Unlike other US states that have legalised recreational cannabis, Illinois will not be legalising personal cannabis cultivation. It will remain illegal to grow cannabis plants at home (even in limited numbers), unless the grower is a medicinal cannabis patient. If the individual has a Medical Marijuana card, they can grow up to five plants at a time.
If caught cultivating up to five cannabis plants at home (without a medical ID card), the offender will be given a civil penalty of $200. Growing five to 20 plants is regarded as a felony, and is punishable with a one to six-year prison sentence, plus a fine of $25,000. 20 to 50 plants can result in a prison term of two to 10 years, and the same fine, and if caught growing 50 to 200 plants, the prison sentence is raised to three to 14 years, and a $100,000 fine. Over 200 plants will result in a four to 30-year prison term, plus a $100,000 fine.
From the start of 2020, licences will be gradually issued to companies in the state. These will be ‘craft growers’, who can apply for licences to cultivate as much as 5,000 square feet of cannabis crops.
Is CBD legal in Illinois?
The law is slightly ambiguous when it comes to CBD products. In Illinois, CBD is technically legal, as the state’s Cannabis Control Act (which set up a hemp research pilot programme) permitted the cultivation of industrial hemp. The federal Farm Bill also made hemp cultivation legal across the country.
As such, CBD products are widely sold in Illinois, and can be legally purchased and used, but there are certain ‘grey areas’, particularly regarding CBD-infused edibles.
Can cannabis seeds be sent to Illinois?
Cannabis seeds can be legally purchased and sold in the state. However, they must be ungerminated, as cultivation is still illegal. Sending cannabis seeds through the post can also be legally problematic (especially if the package passes through other states where the seeds are banned). Anecdotal reports claim that some seed parcels have been held at customs.
Medicinal cannabis in Illinois
Surprisingly, Illinois could have been one of the US’s first states to legalise medicinal cannabis use. In 1978, it passed the Cannabis Control Act, but in order for the law to fully come into force, the Human Services department and the State Police needed to take action. Neither did so, which meant that medicinal cannabis didn’t become legal until many years later.
In 2013, the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act was passed. This legalised medicinal cannabis use, but only in extremely tightly controlled circumstances. The programme was signed into law in the same year, making Illinois the 20 th state to legalise cannabis for medicinal purposes.
Illinois has a long list of health conditions that have been approved for medicinal cannabis treatment. These include:
In order to qualify for medicinal cannabis treatment in Illinois, the patient must be over 18 (or if a minor, must have an adult caregiver and certification from two physicians). They must also be a resident of the state and must have been formally diagnosed with one of the listed conditions.
Industrial hemp in Illinois
After the Farm Bill was passed at federal level (legalising hemp cultivation), the US states swiftly began to pass state laws, permitting farmers to grow hemp in their region.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker, together with Illinois Department of Agriculture, opened up licencing in April 2019. In the first two days, 350 applications had been received, from farmers and processors wanting to start planting the crop.
“Industrial hemp is a potentially billion-dollar industry that Illinois will now take part in,” Pritzker commented. “This will have a massive impact on our state’s economy.”
Good to know
If you are travelling to Illinois (or currently live there), you may be interested to know the following:
- Illinois’ medicinal cannabis programme has proven to be lucrative for the state. In 2018, dispensary sales generated $133 million, and patient enrolment rose by 66%.
- In Chicago, 74% of citizens supported the legalisation of recreational cannabis.
- In September 2019, Chicago hosts its first industrial cannabis expo.
In 1931, Illinois was one of the earlier US states to ban recreational cannabis use; six years before the national prohibition law was passed. This anti-cannabis stance was maintained for several decades, though the rise of hippy culture in the 1960s challenged the status quo.
The situation started to change in 1978, when the state passed the Cannabis Control Act. This sought to legalise medical cannabis use, providing the State Police and Department of Human Services created the necessary drug policies to manage the new law. Neither department did so, and as such, the Cannabis Control Act never came into action.
In 2013, Illinois became the 20 th state in the country to legalise medicinal cannabis use. Then, in 2019, it became the eleventh state to legalise recreational use too.
Cannabis Use in Lebanon – Laws, Use, and History
Attitudes towards cannabis
Attitudes towards cannabis in Illinois are relatively positive. In a recent study, 74.4% of people expressed support for legalising recreational cannabis, with only 21% opposing it. In the 35 and under age group, 83% supported it. Although the age group with the least support was 66 years and over, they still demonstrated majority support – 51%.
While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this article, it is not intended to provide legal advice, as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.
1 thought on “Cannabis in Illinois – Laws, Use, and History”
I was a typical pothead till 2020. Since then, I’m a typical grower, I have my medical card. It’s not a weed, its a flower, technically….
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Author and reviewer
The Sensi Seeds Editorial team has been built throughout our more than 30 years of existence. Our writers and editors include botanists, medical and legal experts as well as renown activists the world over including Lester Grinspoon, Micha Knodt, Robert Connell Clarke, Maurice Veldman, Sebastian Maríncolo, James Burton and Seshata.
Maurice Veldman is a member of the Dutch Association of Criminal Lawyers and one of the Netherlands’ most notable cannabis lawyers. With 25 years’ experience in the field, his knowledge of criminal and administrative law supports cannabis sellers and hemp producers by addressing the inequalities between the individual and the state.
Selling cannabis seeds in illinois
The Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act states that “adult registered qualifying patients MAY purchase cannabis seeds from a dispensary for the purpose of home cultivation. Seeds may not be given or sold to any other person.”
Our interpretation of this language is that patients may choose to purchase seeds from dispensaries, however, they are not required or limited to only purchasing seeds from dispensaries. With that being said, below are several seed banks and breeders you may want to consider to begin your seed collection.
While this is not a comprehensive list by any means, you cannot go wrong with these reputable sources, providing discreet shipping.
Reputable Seed Banks & Breeders
The Attitude Seed Bank (UK)
One of the largest online seed banks based out of UK. Searchable database of breeders and seeds, including past cannabis cup winners.
Royal Queen Seeds (UK)
Reputable old school seed bank from UK.
Fast Buds (UK)
Good source of autoflowering varieties. Breeder and seed bank.
Greenhouse Seed Co. (NL)
World renowned cannabis breeder with several Cannabis Cup winning strains.
Nirvana Seed bank (NL)
Reputable online seed bank providing mail orders since the 1980s.
Great Lakes Genetics (US)
Located in the Midwest. Well-reviewed USA seed bank and breeder.
Neptune Seed Bank (US)
Located in California. Large selection of US breeders.
Kannabia Seeds (ES)
Reputable seed bank and breeder located in Spain.