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.
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 21 and older may possess 30 grams of cannabis flower, 500 mg of THC-infused edible products (amount is cumulative, regardless of being in a single product or multiple products), or five grams of concentrate. Non-residents to Illinois may purchase 15 grams of cannabis, 250 mg of THC in a cannabis-infused product, or 2.5 grams of concentrated cannabis product.
Qualifying patients are able to possess an “adequate supply” of medical marijuana. An adequate supply refers to 2.5 ounces of usable cannabis. However, patients may apply for a waiver to possess more than the 2.5 ounce limit based on the treatment required for their debilitating medical condition(s).
Recreational purchasing limits have not yet been set by the state but are expected to be similar to other states, where purchasing limits match possession limits. The state implements a similar system for medical patients, and the same is expected for adult-use sales.
On the medical side of things, in order 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 2.5 ounces every 14 days. A patient may apply for a waiver to purchase more than 2.5 ounces if a physician provides a signed, written statement confirming that 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.
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 21 years of age and older will be able to legally consume cannabis beginning January 1, 2020. 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 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 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 21 years of age and not a qualified patient to consume cannabis.
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 patients possession limit, however, the cannabis must be stored within the residence, and outside possession limits still apply in public.