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.