Illinois Marijuana Laws

Learn about Illinois Laws, Penalties and Charges for Marijuana use, sale, cultivation, distribution for medical and non medical users.

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Marijuana possession, sale, and manufacture are regulated by both state and federal law. In Illinois, marijuana use, possession, and manufacture is criminalized under the Cannabis Control Act. While not covered in this article, it is also a crime to drive under the influence of marijuana in Illinois.

For information about charges and penalties for driving under the influence of marijuana in Illinois, see Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana in Illinois.

Marijuana Possession

 It is illegal to knowingly or intentionally possess marijuana in Illinois. (720 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 550/4.) Penalties vary according to the amount possessed.

  • Up to two and a half grams. A violation is a class C misdemeanor, punishable with up to 30 days in jail, a fine of up to $1,500, or both. (720 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 550/4(a).)
  • Between two and a half and ten grams. A violation is a class B misdemeanor, punishable with up to six months in jail, a fine of up to $1,500, or both. (720 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 550/4(b).)
  • Between ten and 30 grams. A violation is a class four felony, punishable with up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $2,500, or both. (720 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 550/4(c).)
  • Between 30 and 500 grams. A violation is a class three felony, punishable with one and three years in prison, a fine of up to $25,000, or both. (720 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 550/4(d).)
  • Between 500 and 2,000 grams. A violation is a class three felony, punishable with between two and five years in prison, a fine of up to $25,000, or both. (720 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 550/4(e).)
  • Between 2,000 and 5,000 grams. A violation is a class two felony, punishable with between three and seven years in prison, a fine of up to $25,000, or both. (720 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 550/4(f).)
  • More than 5,000 grams. A violation is a class one felony, punishable between four and 15 years in prison, a fine of up to $25,000, or both. (730 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 5/5-4.5-30.)

Casual delivery. Someone who delivers marijuana to another person, but does not get any payment, is punished only for the amount possessed. This is not considered a marijuana distribution crime. (720 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 550/6.)

Marijuana Plants

Cultivating or possessing marijuana plants is a crime in Illinois. Penalties vary according to the number of plants involved.

  • Up to five plants. A violation is a class A misdemeanor, punishable with up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $2,500, or both. (720 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 550/8(a).)
  • Between five and 20 plants. A violation is a class four felony, punishable with one and three years in prison, a fine of up to $25,000, or both. (720 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 5508(b).)
  • Between 20 and 50 plants. A violation is a class three felony, punishable with two and five years in prison, a fine of up to $25,000, or both. (720 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 550/8(c).)
  • Between 50 and 200 plants. A violation is a class two felony, punishable with between three and seven years in prison, a fine of up to $100,000, or both. Defendants are also assessed the cost of conducting the investigation and eradicating the plants. (720 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 550/8(d).)
  • 200 or more plants. A violation is a class one felony, punishable with between four and 15 years in prison, a fine of up to $100,000, or both; and defendants must pay the  cost of conducting the investigation and eradicating the plants. (720 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 550/8(e).)

Manufacture, Distribution, and Trafficking

 It is illegal to manufacture or distribute marijuana (or possess marijuana with the intent to do so). Penalties vary according to the amount manufactured or distributed. (720 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 550/5.)

  • Up to two and a half grams. A violation is a class B misdemeanor, punishable with up to six months in jail, a fine of up to $1,500, or both. (720 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 550/5(a).)
  • Between two and a half and ten grams. A violation is a class A misdemeanor, punishable with one to three years in prison, a fine of up to $2,500, or both. (720 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 550/5(b).)
  • Between ten and 30 grams. A violation is a class four felony, punishable with one to three years in prison, a fine of up to $25,000, or both. (720 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 550/5(c).)
  • Between 30 and 500 grams. A violation is a class three felony, punishable with two to five years in prison, a fine of up to $50,000, or both. (720 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 550/5(d).)
  • Between 500 and 2,000 grams. A violation is a class two felony, punishable with three and seven years in prison, a fine of up to $100,000, or both. (720 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 550/5(e).)
  • Between 2,000 and 5,000 grams. A violation is a class one felony, punishable with between four and 15 years in prison, a fine of up to $150,000, or both. (720 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 550/5(f).)
  • More than 5,000 grams. A violation is a class X felony, punishable with up between six and 30 years in prison, a fine of up to $200,000, or both. (720 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 550/5(g).)

Trafficking more than 2,500 grams over state line

 Trafficking more than 2,500 grams of marijuana across state lines is a felony, and penalties are doubled (based on the amount trafficked). (720 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 550/5.1(b).)

Involving minors

Someone who sells marijuana to a minor younger than 18 (when the seller is older than 18 and at least three years older than the minor) may face up to twice the penalties described above. (720 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 550/7(a).)

Distribution in a school zone

Additional penalties apply when a violator sells marijuana on school grounds, depending on the amount sold.

  • Up to two and a half grams. A violation is a class A misdemeanor, punishable with up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $2,500, or both. (720 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 550/5.2(e).)
  • Between two and a half and ten grams. A violation is a class four felony, punishable with  one to three years in prison, a fine of up to $2,500, or both. (720 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 550/5.2(d).)
  • Between ten and 30 grams. A violation is a class three felony, punishable with two to five years in prison, a fine of up to $25,000, or both. (720 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 550/5.2(c).)
  • Between 30 and 500 grams. A violation is a class two felony, punishable with three to seven years in prison, a fine of up to $50,000, or both. (720 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 550/5.2(b).)
  • Between 500 and 2,000 grams. A violation is a class one felony, punishable with four to15 years in prison, a fine of up to $200,000, or both. (720 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 550/5.2(a).)

Assessments

In addition to the penalties described above, offenders in Illinois are assessed additional fines for each offense, as follows.

  • Class B misdemeanors: $200
  • Class A  misdemeanors: $300
  • Class three and four felonies: $500
  • Class two felonies: $1,000
  • Class one felonies: $2,000
  • Class X felonies: $3,000

These assessments are in addition to the fines imposed for the underlying conviction. Offenders may petition the judge to convert all or part of this assessment to community service hours; with each hour of service equivalent to $4 of the assessment. Judges may also suspend an assessment if the offender successfully completes a court approved substance abuse treatment program. (720 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 550/10.3.)

Drug Paraphernalia

It is illegal in Illinois sell drug paraphernalia. Paraphernalia includes items used in growing, harvesting, processing, selling, storing, or using marijuana. Penalties vary according to the violation.

  • Sales to adults. A violation is a class four felony, punishable with a minimum $1,000 fine for each item sold (and up to $25,000), between one and three years in prison, or both. (720 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 600/3(a).)
  • Sales to minors younger than 18. A person who sells paraphernalia to a woman whom the person knows to be pregnant is guilty of a class three felony. Penalties include a fine of up to $25,000, between two and five years in prison, or both. (720 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 600/3(a).)
  • Sales to pregnant women. A violation is a class two felony. Penalties include a fine of up to $25,000, between three and seven years in prison, or both. (720 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 600/3(b).

Does Illinois Allow Medical Marijuana Use?

No. All marijuana possession, manufacture, sales, and use is criminalized in Illinois. 

The Value of Local Legal Representation

If you have been charged with a marijuana-related offense, consult an experienced criminal defense attorney. While the penalties and consequences of a marijuana charge are governed by statutory law, only a local criminal defense attorney can tell you how cases like yours tend to be handled by prosecutors and judges in your courthouse.

by: , Contributing Author

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