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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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Wheaton criminal defense attorneyA little more than half of U.S employers drug test potential employees before offering a job. An analysis of over 10 million workplaces found that the number of positive results is the highest it has been in 12 years. Marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamine use is on the rise nationwide. According to the analysis carried out by Quest Diagnostics, 4.2 percent of drug tests produced positive results in 2016. That number is up 4 percent from 2015, making it the highest rate since 2004.

Marijuana Leads in Drug Use

Although the Illinois rate of positive drug tests was the same as the national average, drug use varies between different regions. For example, Chicago’s suburban residents tested positive for cocaine more than other drugs. Southern Illinois residents tested positive for opiates more often than other areas, and heroin use was most common near Rockford.

Overall, drug use appears to be on the rise but it is still not as high as it was 30 years ago. When Quest Diagnostics began their annual report on positive drug tests in 1988, almost 14 percent of drug tests came back positive. Increased marijuana use is largely responsible for the higher rate of positive results and accounted for about half of all positive results.

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drug possession, DuPage County drug possession defense attorneyHaving a charge on your criminal record for any crime can be life-altering. However, drug-related crimes have exceptionally stronger impacts than lesser crimes. Not only is there the legal punishment that comes from conviction, but there are also secondary consequences to consider. For instance, you may lose your government funding for higher education in addition to losing your employment and livelihood. Consider contacting an attorney to reduce or avoid penalties.

Drug Schedules

Although it may sound like what time of day to take your doctor-prescribed medications, drug schedules in the legal sense are a factor used in determining penalties issued for drug crimes. Schedules were created to categorize the potency of the drug, the proclivity for addiction and abuse, and whether or not the substance has any medical usages. The current schedule is set as follows, starting with the least severe:

  • Schedule V: Drugs in this category—Robitussin-AC, codeine, etc.—have a small likelihood of addiction, are used for medical purposes, and contain limited quantities of narcotics.
  • Schedule IV: These substances have a low potential for addiction and are prescribed for medical purposes. Examples include Xanax and Valium.
  • Schedule III: These drugs also have a low potential for abuse but alternately a moderate risk for physical or psychological dependence. These drugs include Vicodin and Tylenol with codeine.
  • Schedule II: This category has legitimate medical uses but is found to have a high level of abuse and is extremely likely to create a dependence. Prescriptions include OxyContin and Percocet.
  • Schedule I: This is the most severe and does not have any accepted medical usages. These are opiates or are derived from opiates and are highly likely to be abused. Heroin, LSD, and ecstasy all fall into this category.

Other Influential Factors

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DuPage County criminal defense attorney, drug possession chargesDuring a traffic stop, you cooperate with the officers who pulled you over. You answer every question asked to the best of your knowledge and even allow the officers to check your vehicle—you know that nothing is there. Yet, the officers find something in your car that shocks you, because you have never touched anything like it. You know others who do, however, and somehow the remanence was discovered in your vehicle. Now, the officers are pointing all fingers at the driver, which in this case, is you. You currently face drug possession charges and are at a loss for words because the police did not believe you. Therefore, why would a judge?

Illinois Possession Laws

Notorious for strict punishments in general, Illinois drug possession consequences are no different. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance to understand each law in its entirety. The majority of laws pertaining to possession in Illinois (Cannibis Control Act, Illinois Controlled Substance Act, and even weapons laws), all have one factor in common: the person charged must “knowingly possess” the item.

The word “knowingly” became a source of great debate and contention in the court system and led to the Criminal Offenses Act in 2010 when Illinois outlined their legal definition of knowledge.

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