Republican Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has surprised liberals throughout
the state by approving several laws in late July 2016 that will lessen
the penalties of
marijuana-related offenses. A year prior Rauner seemed against marijuana as he revised laws that
he felt made it too easy to carry large amounts of marijuana.
The first change he has enacted decriminalizes
marijuana possession in small amounts, so long as there is no evidence of intent to distribute or
traffic the substance. Illinois residents can now carry up to 10 grams of marijuana
without “breaking the law” and facing misdemeanor charges.
Instead, they can be cited between $100 and $200, but no criminal mark
will go on their record and they will not be arrested. The law is not
entirely restrictive to municipalities, however; individual cities or
counties could decide to raise the penalties if they do not see them as fitting.
Rauner has also given police departments some power of their own. An officer
who encounters someone with 10 to 15 grams of marijuana on their person
can make the judgement call then and there to either arrest them for misdemeanor
possession, or issue a $250 to $500 citation. It all comes as an effort
to get minor cases out of the court system.
Big Changes to DUID Laws
Driving a motor vehicle in Illinois after using marijuana was strictly
illegal in the past. Rauner has loosened that legislation in light of
more scientific evidence regarding marijuana and its effects on the average
driver. In particular, drivers who have used marijuana cannot get a
DUI for it unless they test for 5 or more nanograms of THC in their blood,
or twice that in their saliva. Before the changes,
any amount was illegal, regardless of impairment. This meant that people who
used the drug a week in the past could still be arrested for a DUI due
to THC’s lingering presence in the body’s blood stream.
If you have been arrested for a driving under the influence of marijuana,
or for marijuana possession, your defense may have just been bolstered
by these new laws.
Contact our Bloomington & Normal DUI and drug crimes attorneys from Johnson
Law Group today for more information.