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

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Illinois town decriminalizes personal amounts of marijuana

Oswego passed a measure on Jan. 3 that decriminalized the possession of a small amount of marijuana. The report stated that the Oswego police could issue civil citations to those who were in possession of 10 grams or less of cannabis. Municipalities in the state of Illinois are allowed to decriminalize personal amounts of cannabis due to the passing of the Cannabis Control Act in 2016.

Prior to the measure being passed, possession of any cannabis was a criminal offense. Those who were found in possession with the drug were required to be prosecuted, meaning the arresting officer would have to go to court. The new measure simply allows offenders to now just pay a fine. This fine increases with each offense. First-time offenders will be given a $100 fine. Second and third violations will be $150 and $250, respectively. The maximum fine that repeat offenders will owe is $750.

Although smaller amounts of cannabis may be a civil offense depending on the municipality, being found in possession of larger amounts of cannabis could lead to serious consequences. If a person is charged with felony possession of marijuana, they could potentially face serious consequences that may include a jail sentence and massive fines.

There are several ways that a criminal law attorney can defend a person who is facing marijuana drug charges. For example, the attorney could argue that the authorities committed an unlawful search and seizure, which violates the client's Fourth Amendment rights. In some cases, the lawyer may argue that the drugs did not belong to the accused person. If the drugs are missing, the attorney may even seek to have the case dismissed.

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