Heath Alseike

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) signed a bill on Friday to decriminalize cannabis, making the possession of 10 grams or less of cannabis only a ticket-able offense — as opposed to its previous classification as a class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months of jail time and $1,500 in fines — the Chicago Tribune reports.

With the governor’s signature, the new legislation takes immediate effect, marking a rare, bipartisan collaboration on the part of state Democrats and Republican Gov. Rauner.

Under the new law, those caught with 10 or fewer grams of cannabis will face fines from $100 to $200. Cannabis citations will be automatically expunged twice a year: on January 1 and July 1.

The change also loosens Illinois’ strict zero tolerance DUI laws regarding cannabis use, choosing instead to adopt a system similar to those established in Washington and Colorado: drivers in Illinois can now be charged with a cannabis DUI only if they are caught with 5 or more nanograms of THC in their blood, or 10 nanograms in their saliva.

“We applaud Gov. Rauner and the legislature for replacing Illinois’s needlessly draconian marijuana possession law with a much more sensible policy,” said Chris Lindsey, senior legislative counsel for the Marijuana Policy Project. “This commonsense legislation will prevent countless citizens from having their lives turned upside down by a marijuana possession arrest.”

The law follows a Chicago decriminalization measure from 2012. Dozens of Illinois localities already have some form of decriminalization measures on the books — the new statewide law does not overrule these local laws, but instead creates uniformity for all of the places that haven’t yet passed marijuana reforms.

Get daily news insights in your inbox. Subscribe

End


Latest Cannabis News

View all news