Illinois Governor Signs Bill Decriminalizing Marijuana Possession
Illinois Gov. Rauner just signed SB 2228, which removes criminal penalties for the possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana everywhere in Land of Lincoln. The change in the law is effective immediately.
Illinoisans or visitors found in possession of marijuana are no longer subject to arrest or jail time. The change also removes the possibility of a harmful criminal record for cannabis possession, which can last a lifetime. Instead, those found in possession would face a simple fine of between $100 and $200.
Previously in Illinois, possession of up to 2.5 grams of marijuana was a class C misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,500; possession of 2.5-10 grams was a class B misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,500. More than 100 Illinois communities had already removed local criminal penalties for simple marijuana possession.
This change comes from MPP’s multi-year effort to help bring fairness to the state’s possession law. Even though many cities and towns had already lowered penalties, but individuals could still be arrested and charged for possession under state law. This change moves the state away from its former patchwork system.
Illinois is now the 21st state in the nation, in addition to the District of Columbia, to remove the threat of jail time for simple marijuana possession.
We wish to thank bill sponsors Sen. Heather Steans and Rep. Kelly Cassidy for their strong advocacy for a better system. Their tireless effort on behalf of fairness made this law a reality.