Illinois Senate Moves to Decriminalize Possession of Marijuana Less than 10 Grams

Published: May 26, 2016, by admin in Criminal Defense, Drug Crimes, Legal Blog

In recent years, there has been a wave of legislative changes in relation to offenses connecting to the possession and use of marijuana. As more research validates the drugs recreational and medical benefits, more states are moving to institute laws that would decriminalize certain activities surrounded the drug.

On April 19, 2016, the Illinois Senate voted in favor of a proposal to decriminalize the possession of marijuana in a quantity that would amount to less than 10 grams. If made into law, the bill is designed to prevent individuals found guilty of possession of small quantities of the drug from having a criminal record.

What Does the Proposed Law Change

Currently, if you are found in possession of marijuana, you can face jail time or fines, or a combination of both. Additionally, the possession of marijuana up to 10 grams is considered a misdemeanor under Illinois state law and penalties can range from 30 days to six months behind bars and a maximum fine of $1,500. As a misdemeanor, the conviction will form part of the offender’s criminal record leading to lifelong consequences in getting a job or seeking further education.

The new measure, titled Senate Bill 2228, would remove the jail time penalties associated with the offense. The net result is to eliminate the criminal classification of the offense. In fact, possession of marijuana for quantities up to 10 grams under the proposed legislation would be classified as a civil violation resulting in a citation and fine. Once the fine is paid, the proposed law allows for the record to be expunged in the near future.

Why Is This Proposal Different?

This move by the Illinois Senate is not new to the state or even the country. There are more than 100 communities in Illinois that have already made the move to remove criminal penalties associated with possession of marijuana in small quantities. Similar laws are currently in force in some 20 other states.

The reasoning behind the move is that possession of the drug in small quantities is not viewed as a serious offense. It is felt that such individuals are mere consumers of the drugs and should not face criminal punishment that will significantly affect their employment and educational prospects.

How an Illinois Marijuana Lawyer Can Help You

While the proposed Bill received an overwhelming support in the senate, it is still not law. It is now back in the House where It will up for further consideration. Accordingly, the current law stands and if you are found guilty of possession of marijuana up to 10 grams you could face criminal penalties depending on the town in which that you are charged.

At O’Meara Law, your case is in good hands. With over 20 years of experience in criminal defense litigation, Michael O’Meara is passionate about providing high-quality legal representation to individual charged with an Illinois offense, inclusive of possession of marijuana. Do not leave your legal representation to chance. Choose an Illinois marijuana lawyer that you can trust. Call O’Meara Law at 312-909-0706 today.