On June 25, 2019, Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed HB 1438, the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (CRTA), officially making Illinois the 11th state to legalize recreational cannabis, and the first to create a system allowing sales and taxation through legislation. On January 1, 2020, recreational cannabis sales commenced in the state of Illinois.
Illinois was the twentieth state to legalize medical marijuana on January 1, 2014. Known as The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act, this program is still in a pilot stage and was recently extended until at least July 2020. Illinois’ medical program was also expanded by the CRTA, allowing medical patients to cultivate in their homes.
As of January 1, 2020, Illinois residents twenty-one (21) and older may possess thirty (30) grams of cannabis flower, five hundred (500) mg of THC-infused edible products (amount is cumulative, regardless of being in a single product or multiple products), or five (5) grams of concentrate. Non-residents to Illinois may purchase fifteen (15) grams of cannabis, two hundred and fifty (250) mg of THC in a cannabis-infused product, or two and a half (2.5) grams of concentrated cannabis product.
Qualifying patients are able to possess an “adequate supply” of medical marijuana. An adequate supply refers to two and a half (2.5) ounces of usable cannabis. However, patients may apply for a waiver to possess more than the two and a half (2.5) ounce limit based on the treatment required for their debilitating medical condition(s).
Recreational purchasing limits are capped at thirty (30) grams of cannabis flower or its equivalent in other forms of marijuana products.
On the medical side of things, to purchase medical marijuana, a qualifying patient must register and possess a valid registry identification card by the Department of Public Health. Qualifying patients are allowed to purchase an “adequate supply” of medical marijuana. The standard measurement of an adequate supply is two and a half (2.5) ounces every fourteen (14) days.
A patient may apply for a waiver to purchase more than two and a half (2.5) ounces if a physician provides a signed, written statement confirming that two and a half (2.5) ounces is insufficient as an adequate supply to alleviate a debilitating medical condition. When purchasing concentrates, edibles or other marijuana products that are not flower, the pre-weight of the marijuana flower used to make the product is added towards the purchase limit. Where to Buy
Under Illinois law, a qualifying patient is a person diagnosed by a licensed physician as having a debilitating medical condition. Current accepted debilitating medical conditions are listed as follows:
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Arnold-Chiari Malformation
- Cachexia/Wasting Syndrome
- Crohn’s Disease
- Fibrous Dysplasia
- Hepatitis C
- Interstitial Cystitis
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Myasthenia Gravis
- Nail-Patella Syndrome
- Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy
- Residual Limb Pain
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Severe Fibromyalgia
- Sjorgen’s Syndrome
- Spinal Cord Injury
- Spinocerebellar Ataxia
- Tarlov Cysts
- Terminal Illness (< 6 months)
- Traumatic Brain Injury
For more information on how to get your medical marijuana card in Illinois, click here.
Adults twenty-one (21) years of age and older are legally able to consume cannabis purchased from licensed dispensaries. Public cannabis consumption is illegal and strictly prohibited. Other restrictions apply as well. Cannabis consumption is also prohibited in:
- Any motor vehicle
- On school grounds (with exception for approved medical patients)
- Any place near someone under the age of twenty-one (21)
- Any place near an on-duty school bus driver, police officer, firefighter or corrections officer
Landlords, employers, private clubs, and universities will all be allowed to prohibit cannabis use as well.
Only adults twenty-one (21) years of age or older and qualifying patients with a valid registry identification card are able to consume cannabis products in Illinois. It is illegal for any person who is under twenty-one (21) years of age and not a qualified patient to consume cannabis.
Consumption lounges are allowed and are open at this time. However, they are not regulated directly by the state. Local governments may choose to allow or prohibit consumption lounges and set their own regulatory guidelines. The law allows for these lounges to be connected with existing cannabis dispensaries or other entities authorized or permitted by a unit of local government.
Driving Under the Influence
Driving under the influence of cannabis is illegal and strictly prohibited. Those caught behind the wheel under the influence of marijuana face steep charges in the same fashion of an alcohol DUI. In addition to driving a motor vehicle under the influence of cannabis, it is also illegal to operate an aircraft, motorboat, or any other motor vehicle while under the influence of cannabis.
It is illegal to transport marijuana in car unless it is in a secured, sealed and tamper-evident container that is inaccessible while the vehicle is moving. The vehicle must also be private and not open to the public. Under no circumstance is it legal for a driver or passenger to consume recreational or medical cannabis inside of a vehicle.
It is illegal to export marijuana from Illinois and those who are caught doing face severe penalties. It is not worth the risk, so be sure to only consume cannabis products lawfully and never export it over state lines.
Under Illinois' new recreational cannabis laws, it is illegal for adults to grow their own cannabis. All recreational cannabis must be legally purchased at a licensed dispensary.
Beginning on January 1, 2020, medical cannabis patients may grow up to five plants at their residence, with a limit of five plants per household, regardless of the number of patients residing in the house. Patients may purchase cannabis seeds from a dispensary and any plants in a residence must be secured. Harvests cultivated from home grows will not violate the medical patient's possession limit, however, the cannabis must be stored within the residence, and outside possession limits still apply in public.Explore Strains
Currently, neither medical nor recreational cannabis delivery is permitted in Illinois.
Illinois does not extend reciprocity to out-of-state registered medical cannabis patients.
*Legal Disclaimer: This article is not meant to serve as legal advice and is for informational purposes only. Laws and regulations are always changing. Therefore, if you have any legal questions regarding Illinois' medical marijuana laws you must consult with a licensed Illinois attorney.