Illinois Cannabis Facts

Updated on December 8, 2017.  Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer

One of the most encouraging Illinois marijuana facts for advocates is the state not only decriminalized possession of small amounts of weed in 2016, but it also extended Illinois’ medical marijuana program until at least 2020. Illinois legislators also included terminal illnesses as well as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to the list of conditions for which patients can turn to medical cannabis for relief. While there are many improvements advocates believe could still be made to the program, Illinois is still far ahead of many of its Midwestern neighbors.

Marijuana Facts for Illinois

  • In 2013, House Bill 1 was passed by the Illinois State Senate and is now headed to Governor Quinn’s desk. If signed into a law, this measure will establish an Illinois medical marijuana program that will take effect on January 1st of 2014. The bill is not perfect but it is a step in the right direction for helping terminally and seriously ill patients achieve relief.
  • In the state of Illinois, an individual is considered to be guilty of DUI (driving under the influence) if he or she drives under the influence of any drug or combination of drugs to a degree that renders the person incapable of safely driving.  They are also guilty if there is any amount of a drug, substance, or compound in the person’s breath, blood, or urine resulting from the unlawful use or consumption of cannabis.
  • In the state of Illinois, African-Americans comprised nearly ninety-percent of drug offenders that are admitted into prison, making Illinois the worst offender in the national scandal of racial disparities in drug offender incarceration.
  •  While rates of illegal drug involvement cut fairly evenly across racial lines in Illinois, an African-American man in the state is nearly sixty times more likely to be sent to prison on drug charges than a Caucasian male.
  • Many advocates believe one of the medical marijuana facts for Illinois that needs to change is that many people suffering from severe, constant pain are unable to qualify for medical cannabis in the state. This gives many of these patients no choice but to either use weed illegally or turn to powerful medications that not only pose the risk of addiction but of potentially fatal overdoses as well.
  • The state of Illinois allows patients who qualify for medical marijuana use to possess no more than 2.5 ounces of weed during a two-week period. It does not allow for home cultivation.
  • An estimated 4,037 patients in Illinois had registered for the state’s medical marijuana program as of February 2017, according to the Illinois Medical Cannabis Pilot Program.
  • Thanks to newly passed decriminalization laws, anyone caught with 10 grams of pot or fewer will now be charged with a civil offense rather than a crime. It is punishable by a fine of no more than $200. This makes Illinois the third-largest state in the country to enact a decriminalization policy.

If you would like more marijuana facts for Illinois or any other state, check back with often. We will keep you updated on all relevant developments.

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