Illinois Senate Passes Cannabis Decriminalization Bill

The Illinois Senate passed a measure Thursday to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

Under the measure, those caught with less than 15 grams of cannabis would be subject to a fine of up to $125, but would not be eligible for court time or arrest. Currently, low-level possession charges can lead to up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.

The Senate approved the measure by a vote of 37-19. It passed the House last month, but won’t go directly to Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner for approval. Rather, sponsors say they’re holding onto the bill until further cleanup language is approved.

Sen. Michael Noland (D.-Elgin), one of the sponsors of the bill, said that while he personally believes that marijuana use is wrong, he doesn’t think people’s personal and professional lives should be damaged by jail time because of it.

Opponents of the measure have criticized the bill for failing to impose treatment requirements or limits of the number of tickets offenders can receive.


Photo Credit: Tony Webster

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