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Illinois Decriminalizes Minor Pot Offenses

Man in handcuffs - drug crime

Governor Bruce Rauner signed legislation on Friday making small amounts of marijuana punishable by fines instead of jail time. This makes Illinois the 21st state and the third largest to decriminalize marijuana. Effective immediately, this bill makes possession of less than 10 grams of weed a civil violation punishable by a fine of up to $200.


“We applaud Gov. Rauner and the legislature for replacing Illinois’s needlessly draconian marijuana possession law with a much more sensible policy. This commonsense legislation will prevent countless citizens from having their lives turned upside down by a marijuana possession arrest.” Said Chris Lindsey, senior legislative counsel for the MPP (Marijuana Policy Project).

“Nobody should face a lifelong criminal record and potential jail time for possessing a substance that is safer than alcohol. Serious criminal penalties should be reserved for people who commit serious crimes, not low-level marijuana offenses.”

Prior to the bill being signed into legislation, penalties in Illinois for possession of 2.5 grams or less of marijuana was a class C misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,500. Criminal penalties for marijuana possession have already been removed by more than 100 communities in Illinois.

For more information about the legislation, visit mpp.org.

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