Gov. Rauner Signs Bill Reducing Pot Penalties In Illinois
Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed legislation that makes marijuana possession in small amounts punishable only with fines and no jail time.
The governor's office announced that Rauner signed the legislation Friday. The announcement came after The Associated Press reported the signing.
The new law means possessing 10 grams or less of marijuana will be punishable with a fine of up to $200. The governor's signature makes Illinois the 17th state to treat possession of marijuana in small amounts as a civil offense rather than a criminal one.
The legislation also sets a standard for what's considered too high to drive.
ILLINOIS STATE POLICE STATEMENT REGARDING DECRIMINALIZATION OF SMALL AMOUNTS OF CANNABIS:
Today Governor Rauner signed Senate Bill 2228 into law, which amends the penalties for possession of smaller amounts of cannabis.
“The safety of Illinois citizens, and the motoring public, will always remain the utmost priority of the Illinois State Police (ISP). ISP officers will continue to enforce the law, while being mindful of the penalty changes for smaller amounts of cannabis,” said ISP Director Leo P. Schmitz. “The public is reminded that cannabis possession without a medical marijuana card is still illegal; the penalty and fines have changed. In addition, drivers under the influence of cannabis will still be arrested and prosecuted.”
The new law changes the penalty for the possession of 10.0 grams or less of cannabis to a civil law violation, carrying a minimum fine of $100, and a maximum fine of $200. Persons found in possession of not more than 10.0 grams of cannabis can be issued a citation and be required to appear in court for the violation. ISP officers will no longer be required to fingerprint, photograph, and either collect bond or transport defendants to jail. Confiscated cannabis and drug paraphernalia will be seized and placed into evidence. Following the adjudication of the citation in court, seized cannabis and paraphernalia will be destroyed, and the charge against the defendant will be expunged on or before the following July 1st or January 1st.
Local ordinances regarding fines for the possession of cannabis and related drug paraphernalia are not impacted.