As of January 1, 2020, new marijuana laws were enacted in Illinois, and marijuana became legal for the first time in our state. Of course, there are still significant restrictions regarding marijuana possession. If you disregard the new laws, you could be looking at serious fines, possible jail time, and any number of consequences that could adversely affect your future.
If you have been arrested on cannabis charges, you should seek a Chicago marijuana possession attorney as soon as possible. At Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC, we have years of experience in handling marijuana charges, and we also understand the complications and exceptions brought about by the new laws enacted earlier this year.
At Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC, we have over 30 years of experience in winning cases and helping our clients secure their futures. We also offer all our potential clients a free initial evaluation. At our first meeting, we’ll discuss the details of your case and create a strategic plan tailored to your situation.
Our team of experienced and knowledgeable lawyers will explore all options regarding your case and see if the charges can be dismissed or potentially reduced. We understand the burden of carrying a criminal record, and we want to help you avoid that if possible, in order to protect you and your future.
Call us at (800) 996-4824 or contact us online to get started today.
Do I need a Marijuana Possession Lawyer?
Because Illinois has decriminalized marijuana, those who choose to purchase and consume cannabis can rest a bit easier knowing that they may not be in violation of the law. This doesn’t mean, however, that all activity is legal, or that you can’t get in trouble for some marijuana-related violations.
If you’ve been arrested and charged with a cannabis-related crime, you might be thinking that you could handle your marijuana charges by yourself. But you should know that doing so may result in a much more complicated path for you. Without representation, you will be solely in charge of handling deadlines, speaking to a judge or jury, and representing yourself.
Our attorneys know how to build a case to best fight against a marijuana charge. Our marijuana possession lawyers know the options you might have. Depending on the circumstances, you might be eligible for deferred prosecution or a special probation that might avoid a conviction. Under some circumstances, we may also submit a mitigation packet on your behalf wherein we can highlight your character, your previous record, and other positives about you to the prosecutor, to help achieve the best possible outcome.
Why Hire Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC?
At Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC, we’ve been serving the residents of Chicago and those who live across Cook, Lake, DuPage, Kane, McHenry and Will counties for over 30 years. We have an extensive network of attorneys, legal assistants, investigators, accident recreation experts, and medical professionals who work together to serve the needs of our clients. We commit 100% to each and every case, and our clients are often so satisfied that they regularly refer their friends and family back to us.
Our lawyers have earned prestigious awards and recognitions, such as:
- National Trial Lawyers Top 100
- Best Attorneys of America
- Nation’s Top One Percent of attorneys
We have successfully represented more than 20,000 clients, and our team is ready to stand up for you if you’ve been arrested and charged with a marijuana-related crime here in Illinois.
2020 Marijuana Laws
In January of 2020, the new laws in Illinois were passed, bringing legalized cannabis to our state. While this means you can now legally possess marijuana, there are still restrictions in place. Below is a list of some of the new laws and how they affect Chicago residents:
- You must be 21 years of age or older to purchase marijuana legally. Those under the age of 21 found with cannabis in their possession will be doing so illegally.
- Residents of Illinois will be allowed to purchase up to 30 grams, or one ounce, of cannabis plant material. For concentrates, you are allowed up to five grams; and for edibles, you are allowed to hold no more than 500mg of THC.
- Non-residents of Illinois are allowed half the amount of cannabis products as residents.
- Only medical marijuana patients will be allowed to grow marijuana plants, and they are limited to five plants each.
- Only licensed marijuana cultivators and dispensaries will be legally allowed to sell marijuana.
- Only those with special transportation licenses can transport and deliver cannabis.
- It is illegal to possess marijuana on school grounds or deliver the product to a minor.
- It is illegal to consume or smoke marijuana products in public spaces openly.
These laws allow Chicago residents to possess and grow more marijuana than before, but neglecting these rules is illegal and can be prosecuted under the law.
Chicago Marijuana Penalties
If you possess more than the legal limits allowed by law or participate in any other illegal activity regarding marijuana, you could still be facing fines, prison time, and other penalties, such as the following:
- Anyone who possesses 30 – 100 grams of cannabis can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. This charge can potentially lead to a maximum fine of $2,500 and a maximum sentence of 1 year in prison.
- Anyone in possession of 100-500 grams can be charged with a Class 4 felony punishable by a maximum fine of $25,000 and prison time between 1 – 3 years.
- An individual in possession of 500 – 2,000 grams of marijuana could be charged with a Class 3 felony, punishable by a fine up to $25,000, and a prison sentence between 1 – 5 years.
- Anyone in possession of 2,000 – 5,000 grams of marijuana can be charged with a Class 2 felony, punishable by a fine up to $25,000 and prison time of 3 – 7 years.
- An individual who possesses over 5,000 grams of marijuana can be charged with a Class 1 felony and be punished with a fine up to $25,000 and a prison sentence of 4 – 15 years.
There are further penalties for those charged with possession with intent to sell, sale or delivery on school grounds or to a minor and cultivating plants.
If you are charged with marijuana possession, you should say nothing to the police, and immediately contact a Chicago marijuana possession lawyer, or click here to learn more about rules surrounding transportation and use of cannabis.
Possession of Paraphernalia
There are additional regulations surrounding the legality of paraphernalia. It’s important to note that all paraphernalia is subject to forfeiture at any time.
New paraphernalia laws include:
- Anyone arrested for paraphernalia with less than 10 grams of marijuana can be charged with a civil violation and be charged a fine of $100 – $200.
- An individual with paraphernalia and more than 10 grams of marijuana can be punished with a fine between $750 – $2,500 and prison time of up to one year.
- Sale of paraphernalia by an unlicensed entity can be charged between $1,000 – $25,000 and be punished by up to 5 years of prison time.
- Sale of paraphernalia to a minor or a pregnant woman can be punishable by a minimum fine of $1,000 and prison time up to 7 years.
These laws regarding marijuana products and paraphernalia can be difficult to follow. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the new regulations and better understand your rights.
Marijuana and Operating a Vehicle
Although marijuana use has been widely legalized in Illinois, it is still illegal to operate vehicles while under the influence of marijuana – either recreationally or medicinally. Any purchased cannabis plant material, concentrates, edibles, or otherwise must be sealed and stored in the dispensary-made packaging in which it was bought.
If an officer suspects a driver of driving under the influence of marijuana, they may pull over the car and ask the driver to take field tests. If the driver fails the field sobriety tests or appears to be high to any degree, the driver may be arrested.
Although there is still much improvement needed with THC testing, these tests are nevertheless used by law enforcement as the basis for charging individuals. If the tests come back with more than five nanograms of THC, that is considered over the limit and there is a presumption that the driver is impaired. These tests are somewhat disputable as THC can stay in a regular user’s system for weeks and months afterwards.
If you are arrested after failing a THC test, it’s essential to contact a marijuana possession attorney who can help you navigate the test results and strengthen your defense.
Previously Convicted Individuals
With the change in laws regarding marijuana possession, there is also a change in how the state will deal with those convicted on marijuana charges before the legislative change. Those convicted with less than 30 grams of cannabis are eligible to have their records expunged. They may in some circumstances need to have their records and case referred to the Prisoner Review Board or the governor’s office for pardon.
Even those charged with more significant amounts of marijuana may be eligible for a pardon. Individual cases be eligible for expungement on a case-by-case basis. Contact a Chicago marijuana possession lawyer to see what options you might have.
Contact A Marijuana Possession Lawyer Today
If you or someone you know is facing marijuana possession or sale charges, it’s crucial to contact a marijuana defense attorney as soon as possible. At Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC, we understand the new laws and how to strengthen the defense of your case. Our experienced attorneys will do everything we can to secure your future and avoid being permanently affected as a result of a drug charge.
Contact us online or call us today at (312) 644-0444.