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DuPage County marijuana possession lawyerIllinois became the 11th state to legalize the recreational sale and use of marijuana and marijuana products Friday. This was a historic moment in United States history, as Illinois passed the bill that permits both usage and sales of recreational cannabis entirely through legislation, rather than a voter referendum. The new law significantly alters how the state will handle cannabis. It will now treat it and tax it similarly to the way the state handles alcohol. Though recreational marijuana will be legal in Illinois, there are still rules that you must follow, otherwise, you face penalties.

When and Where Can I Buy Recreational Marijuana?

Beginning in January 2020, recreational marijuana will be available for purchase by any citizen over the age of 21 at any of the 20 medical marijuana dispensaries throughout the state. By mid-2020, additional licenses will be given to other recreational stores, processors and cultivators, though local governments have the power to decide whether recreational marijuana businesses operate in their area.

How Much Can I Buy/Possess?

Citizens are permitted to possess up to 30 grams of dry marijuana flower, which equates to around one ounce, or as much as can fit into an adult’s cupped hands. Citizens are also permitted to possess up to five grams of cannabis concentrate and up to 500 milligrams of THC in cannabis-infused products, such as tinctures or edibles. Visitors to Illinois are permitted to possess half of those amounts.

Where Can I Consume Marijuana?

You are permitted to consume cannabis in private residences or in some cannabis-related businesses. You are not permitted to consume cannabis if you are in a public place, including streets or parks, in a motor vehicle, on school grounds (unless you are a medical marijuana user) or around anyone who is under the age of 21.

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Illinois drug defense lawyersIn 2011, the State Attorney for LaSalle County created the State’s Attorney Felony Enforcement Unit (SAFE). In the roughly four years that it operated, the unit managed to confiscate over $1.7 million from Illinois drivers. They also filed more than 50 civil forfeiture cases and arrested 77 people on drug charges. The Illinois Supreme Court recently ruled that all acts – including those tied to criminal cases – were wrongful. The reason? The task force should never have existed. Learn more about what this could mean for your drug conviction case, and how an experienced criminal defense lawyer may be able to help.

Abuse of Power Rampant in SAFE Squad

Law enforcement is supposed to be a government entity, meaning it should operate and act within the law. Unfortunately, the SAFE Unit failed to do this. Not only did the Illinois Supreme Court rule that they had wrongfully searched the vehicles of Illinois drivers, but they also operated in a for-profit way. Funds from seizures were used to purchase everything from conferences in Las Vegas to office furniture, patrol cars, and even employee salaries.

What the Ruling Could Mean for Your Case

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Wheaton criminal defense attorneyAccording to data collected by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Illinois Policy Institute, state and local police agencies have seized and kept nearly $320 million in assets purportedly related to criminal activity since 2005. During that same time, federal law enforcement entities within Illinois seized an additional $404 million. Law enforcements agencies have the authority to do so under state and federal asset forfeiture laws, but with a signature from Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, the laws regarding asset forfeiture in Illinois could be about to change.

Understanding Asset Forfeiture

When a person is arrested in connection with a criminal offense, it is understandable that the police would seize contraband including drugs, paraphernalia, and weapons owned without proper licensing. Law enforcement, however, is also permitted to seize any private property believed to have been used or generated in connection with the criminal activity. While existing laws were intended to help combat organized crime and drug cartels by reducing their available assets, police departments have long since applied the same laws to much smaller operations. Seized assets may include cars, guns, homes, and, most often, cash, and the assets may be seized and kept even if the owner is never convicted or charged.

If a property owner wishes to reclaim seized property, existing law requires him or her to pay a bond of 10 percent of the value of the property just to have his or her case heard. Even then, law enforcement must only show probable cause that the assets were used or generated in the commission of a crime—not necessarily by the owner—in order to keep the property.

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DuPage County criminal drug charge attorney, drug trafficking, drug posession

Drug trafficking and drug possession are serious crimes that carry potentially devastating sentences. However, there are notable differences between both crimes as well as the defenses available to refute them. You will want to speak with an experienced DuPage County criminal drug charge attorney to get the best advice on what your options are after you have been charged.

Drug Possession

Drug possession, generally, is a less serious offense than drug trafficking. Drug Possession refers to being in actual or constructive possession of a controlled substance. Being charged with drug possession usually is prosecuted at the state level.

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DuPage County, IL drug charges attorneys, drug courtIf you have been charged with a crime that is related to a drug or alcohol addiction, you have options beyond serving jail time. Depending on the circumstances of your case, drug court may be a suitable choice for you.

Drug Court Basics

Drug court provides a tool for people suffering from addiction who have been accused of nonviolent crimes. Upon successful completion of the program, the participant will not have to serve jail time.

Following application, which includes a substance abuse assessment, an accepted participant will undergo counseling, drug screens, treatment, and rehabilitation. The participant will also be subject to regular court monitoring.

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