Martin & Kent, L.L.C. Martin & Kent, L.L.C.

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Court announces rules for pot decriminalization

Illinois residents may be interested to learn that, on Sept. 1, the Illinois Supreme Court announced rules associated with the state's marijuana decriminalization law. This law was signed on July 9 by Gov. Bruce Rauner and allowed the Supreme Court to clarify and define the rules for those who were caught with up to 10 grams of marijuana.

Prior to the decriminalization law being signed, those who were convicted of marijuana possession could face up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,500. Those who were convicted of possession of drug paraphernalia faced up to a year in jail and up to $2,500 in fines.

New punishments for those convicted of marijuana possession included a fine of $120 per violation. This fine could be paid by mail without the person having to appear in court. Additionally, circuit court clerks would have the ability to expunge a record once the cannabis violation was resolved. The law also covered the amount of THC that could be found in the bloodstream before a person could be charged with driving under the influence of pot. With this decriminalization law, Illinois became the 21st state to decriminalize the possession of small personal amounts of marijuana.

Although small amounts of marijuana meant for personal use are no longer subject to harsh consequences, those who are accused of possessing marijuana with the intent to distribute may still face serious consequences if a criminal conviction is obtained, including incarceration and high fines. As such, it could be advisable for a person facing these charges to obtain the aid of a criminal defense attorney in constructing a strategy to combat the allegations. One possible line of defense could be to challenge the search that led to the seizure of the marijuana as being made without probable cause.

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