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Drug Possession in Illinois

Web Admin - Wednesday, June 17, 2015

drug possession, Illinois drug crimes lawyerThe punishment for illegal possession of controlled substances in Illinois includes significant jail or prison sentences and large fines. Controlled substances include drugs like cocaine and heroin, but also includes certain prescription medications. Further, in Illinois, the possession of marijuana for non-medical purposes is illegal. The penalties for marijuana possession are often equally as significant as those for illegal possession of a controlled substance. 

Possession and Distribution 

Drugs listed as controlled substances are placed on a schedule from one to five (listed as a roman numeral “I” through “V”) based on their addictive quality and potential for abuse. Schedule I controlled substances are considered the most dangerous and have no accepted medical use in the United States. Some examples of schedule I drugs are heroin and ecstasy. 

Under Illinois law, it is illegal to knowingly possess a controlled substance or marijuana. The specific charge an individual will face for alleged violation of this law depends on the type of drug and the amount possessed. The charge may be a Class A, B, or C misdemeanor, or a Class 1, 2, 3, or 4 felony. 

For controlled substances, the penalties range from probation, up to a 50-year prison sentence, with fines up to $200,000 or the street value of the drug, whichever is greater. Possessing 15 grams or less of a drug like heroin or cocaine can lead to up to a three-year prison sentence and a fine of up to $25,000. For marijuana, penalties range from probation up to a prison sentence of 15 years. Possessing 2.5 grams or less of marijuana can lead to a jail sentence of up to 30 days and a fine of up to $1,500. 

Distribution is considered more serious under Illinois law, particularly if a Class X felony is charged. These types of felonies are behind only first degree murder as the most serious in Illinois. There are mandatory minimum prison sentences and no possibility for probation under Class X felonies. Manufacturing or delivering, or possessing with the intent to manufacture or deliver, a controlled substance may be considered a Class X felony, depending on the drug and quantity involved. For example, delivering between 15 and 100 grams of heroin will lead to a minimum prison sentence of six years, with a maximum sentence of up to 30 years. 

Similarly, there are increased penalties for manufacturing or delivering marijuana. When 2.5 grams or less is involved, the jail sentence may be up to six months, as opposed to up to 30 days for simple possession. If more than 5,000 grams of any substance containing marijuana is involved, a Class X felony may be charged, with a potential fine of up to $200,000. 

Contact Our Criminal Defense Law Firm

The potential consequences of a drug charge conviction are very serious. If you have been charged with a drug crime, it is important that you contact an Illinois criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible. Our dedicated attorneys represent clients throughout the northwest suburbs, in areas such as Barrington, Des Plaines, and Deer Park.

About the Author: Founding partner of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC, Colin Gilbert, received his J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of law in 2005. Colin argues cases across many practice areas including criminal defense, collections, civil litigation, real estate law, and corporate law. Colin is an active member of the Board of Governors of the Northwest Suburban Bar Association and the Illinois Creditors Bar Association. He is currently Vice President of the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce, and is a Commissioner for the Village of Arlington Heights. Colin has a 10.0 Attorney rating on Avvo, and was named one of the 2014 “Top 40 Under 40” Trial Lawyers in Illinois by the National Trial Lawyers Association.

Legally Possessing Medical Marijuana in Illinois

Web Admin - Friday, December 06, 2013

On August 1st, 2013, the Illinois legislature passed The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, which allows the use of medical marijuana in Illinois. This bill, which goes into effect on January 1st of next year, expands access to marijuana for those with certain medical conditions. However, the law keeps it illegal for recreational purposes, and tries to maintain public safety by carefully regulating who uses the drug and how much is allowed.

Rules on Marijuana Use

The state legislature placed several restrictions on the legality of medical marijuana. The law allows people to obtain marijuana only if they have one of 33 illnesses listed in the Act. However, the law also gives the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) the authority to add new diseases to the list as they see fit. The Act further limits the use of medical marijuana to people over the age of 18 who do not have a prior felony conviction. The legislature also attempted to control the spread of marijuana by requiring an Illinois ID card or driver’s license, so that people cannot travel to Illinois from other states just to get marijuana. Additionally, the Act forbids the use of marijuana in front of minor children.

How to Obtain Medical Marijuana

The process for acquiring medical marijuana eligibility contains three steps. First, a doctor must diagnose the patient with one of the 33 listed conditions, which include, among other diseases, cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, MS, and various pain disorders. Once the doctor diagnoses a patient with an eligible disorder, the patient can go to a medical marijuana clinic or other specialist to acquire a doctor’s recommendation for medical marijuana. The patient then takes that recommendation to the IDPH who will issue them an ID card that allows them to purchase medical marijuana.

Once the patient becomes eligible for medical marijuana, they can take their ID card to one of 60 state-regulated dispensaries, and use it to purchase up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana every two weeks. Patients should keep in mind that the state heavily controls the supply of medical marijuana, which means that it may take a few months after the bill goes into effect before the medical marijuana actually becomes available.

Legal Help

If you have questions about the legality of medical marijuana, or have been charged with a crime related to medical marijuana, contact an experienced Chicago drug defense attorney today. We serve many areas in the northwest suburbs including Schaumburg, Barrington, Des Plaines, Deer Park, Buffalo Grove, and more.


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