Illinois Marijuana Laws
Illinois becomes 11th state in US to legalize recreational marijuana, first to set up statewide marketplace. June 25th 2019
Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a bill that permits residents to purchase and possess up to one ounce of cannabis at a time and non-residents up to 15 grams.
The move, which fulfills one of Pritzker’s campaign promises, also implements the nation’s first comprehensive statewide cannabis marketplace designed by legislators. It also means that nearly 800,000 people with criminal records for purchasing or possessing 30 grams of marijuana or less may have those records expunged.
Where will I be able to buy recreational marijuana?
So far, 35 medical marijuana dispensaries across Illinois have been approved to also sell recreational marijuana.
What will I need in order to purchase?
You’ll need a state-issued ID or driver’s license to enter a dispensary. No medical card is needed, but your ID will need to be unaltered.
Can I use a credit card to purchase?
Probably not. Because marijuana is still illegal at the federal level, most credit card companies don’t work with dispensaries or other cannabis-related entities, so you should come prepared with cash. Many dispensaries will have ATMs on-site if you forget, however.
How much will it cost?
That varies widely based on the kind of product and the potency, as well as by dispensary. However, expect to pay the following in taxes:
Who can purchase?
Only adults 21 or older will be allowed to purchase.
How much will I be allowed to purchase?
It depends on where you’re a resident. Illinois residents can purchase up to 30 grams of flower, 5 grams of concentrate and 500 milligrams of THC-infused products (edibles). Out-of-state visitors will be able to buy half those amounts. Dispensaries will determine your residency based on your state-issued ID or driver’s license.
Where will I be allowed to use recreational marijuana?
Only in your home. It will still be illegal to use cannabis products in public places, including CTA vehicles and in public venues. Law enforcement in Chicago, however, shouldn’t ticket you if you smoke on your balcony or in your backyard.
Will there be more dispensaries in the future?
All dispensaries that have been approved to sell recreational marijuana were already approved for medical marijuana licenses. Illinois’ 55 medical cannabis dispensaries were able to apply for same-site licenses to sell recreational marijuana. They were also able to apply for second-site licenses, and Illinois will award 75 licenses to new applicants by May 1, 2020 and 110 more by Dec. 21, 2021.
Will my record get wiped clean if I got arrested for possession before?
Yes, your record will automatically be expunged if you had up to 30 grams of marijuana on you and it didn’t lead to a conviction. If it was more than 30 but less than 500 grams, you can file a motion to vacate your record. The records won’t be cleared for cases where the possession was also connected to a violent crime.
What do people mean when they say “social equity”?
This is meant to help “those most adversely impacted by the enforcement of drug related laws in this state” get involved with the sale of recreational cannabis. You can apply to be considered for fee waivers, low-interest loans and grants if 51% or more of the company is made up of people who meet the following requirements:
• Have lived in a Disproportionately Impacted Area in five of the last 10 years
• Have been arrested for, or convicted of, cannabis-related offenses deemed eligible for expungement
• Have a parent, child or spouse who qualifies for expungement
Is marijuana going to be legal everywhere in Illinois?
No. Although it will be legal in the state, individual municipalities can choose to ban recreational marijuana. So far, over 20 towns have banned, delayed or placed restrictions on recreational sales.
The cultivation of cannabis plants for personal use is prohibited. However, medical patients will be permitted to grow up to 5 cannabis plants at home.
Qualifying Debilitating Medical Conditions
Illinois’ Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program Act began as a pilot program in 2014. It became a permanent program, losing the “pilot’ designation in August 2019.
Patients with the 1 or more of the following debilitating medical conditions may be eligible to participate in the program:
Hard copy petitions to add debilitating medical conditions may be submitted by mail to:
Illinois Department of Public Health
Division of Medical Cannabis
535 W. Jefferson St.
Springfield, IL 62761-0001
The petitions will be reviewed annually during the month of January.
The law provides for cannabis purchases by adults 21 and older at approved dispensaries, which, after they are licensed and established, may start selling Jan. 1, 2020. That means possession remains a crime until then, a spokesman for Senate Democrats said.
Pritzker's successful campaign for governor capitalized on growing public sentiment that law enforcement has better things to do than chase pot smokers and that state government could benefit by regulating and taxing the product as it does alcohol and tobacco.
He claimed that, once established, taxation of marijuana could generate $800 million to $1 billion a year. He initially estimated that in the budget year that begins July 1, dispensary licensing would generate $170 million, but Sen. Heather Steans and Rep. Kelly Cassidy, both Chicago Democrats who have been advocating legalization for at least four years, were forced to lower that estimate to about $58 million in the final proposal. Cassidy added that the fully implemented program might generate only $500 million annually within five years.
House Bill 1 (385 KB)
The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act
Establishes a patient registry program, protects registered qualifying patients and registered designated caregivers from "arrest, prosecution, or denial of any right or privilege," and allows for the registration of cultivation centers and dispensing organizations. Once the act goes into effect, "a tax is imposed upon the privilege of cultivating medical cannabis at a rate of 7% of the sales price per ounce."
ON August 28, 2018, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed into law a measure that stands to create a new class of Medical Marijuana users. PTSD has become the most common condition treated by patients who use medical marijuana in Illinois, according to a new state report that also shows overall use of medical pot has risen 83 percent this year in Illinois with more than 46,000 users.
Here’s a look at what the change will mean:
The new law allows medical marijuana to be used as a replacement for opioid pain medication. That means anyone whose doctor would write them a prescription for pain pills like OxyContin or Vicodin could be certified for medical marijuana. Eventually, patients will be able to take their doctor certifications directly to a dispensary, complete their registration there and begin purchasing cannabis, and state health officials will review the registration later to make sure it meets the requirements of the law. But state officials say dispensary computer systems need to be upgraded before that will be possible.
2. … and easier access.
For other medical cannabis patients — those who have one of about 40 qualifying serious and often chronic conditions — the application process will no longer include background checks and fingerprinting. And patients will be able to get provisional approval to buy marijuana while their applications are being processed.
3. How much and how long.
Those who qualify for medical pot for opioid replacement will be able to purchase cannabis at a licensed dispensary for 90 days, but that can be renewed with a physician’s approval. For other patients, certification lasts for three years, a time frame that was earlier lengthened from one year. Qualifying patients can buy up to 2.5 ounces every two weeks. The medical marijuana law — including the new opioid-replacement measure — is still in a pilot phase until July 1, 2020, so it would need to be extended or made permanent in order to continue beyond that date.
The table below outlines Illinois’s main marijuana laws.
Illinois Department of Public Health