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New law decriminalizes minor marijuana possession

Back in 2013, Illinois passed a law legalizing medical marijuana. Now, three years later, almost to the day, on July 29, 2016, Governor Bruce Rauner of Illinois has signed a new bill, which significantly reduces penalties for possession of marijuana. 

According to an article in The Chicago Tribune, possession of minimal amounts of marijuana could result in a mere citation, similar to receiving a traffic ticket. The new law, SB2228, states that people found in possession of 10 grams or less will drop from the previous penalty of up to six months in jail and up to $1,500 in fines, down to a fine of $100 to $200 and no jail time. Additionally, these citations will be removed or expunged from violators' records two times each year. 

To be clear, marijuana is still illegal, but the punishment for minor possession has been significantly reduced, a.k.a. decriminalized. If you are charged with possession of marijuana or driving under the influence (DUI) of marijuana or other drugs or alcohol, a criminal defense attorney can help you try and get the charges reduced or dropped. This could mean saving money in fines, elimination of jail time and keeping your record clean.

Test your knowledge of marijuana with these five questions

Q: How many states, including Illinois, have now decriminalized marijuana?

A: Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia.

Q: What state was the first to legalize medical marijuana?

A: California legalized pot for medical purposes in 1996.

Q: Can you name at least three other terms for Marijuana?

A: Cannibas, weed and grass, to name a few.

Q: Does this legalization include possessing the means for making and using marijuana?

A: Yes, the new law also includes paraphernalia, like paper and pipes, used to make and ingest the drug.

Q: How does the new law affect DUI?

A: Previous to Illinois Senate Bill 2228, having even trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) revealed in a drug test could result in DUI charges. THC is the ingredient which causes the user's mind to be under the influence of the drug. The new law states drivers won't be charged with DUI unless a blood test reveals five or more nanograms in their system. If a saliva test is used, ten or more nanograms could result in DUI charges.

If you have questions about drug possession or DUI, seek legal advice from an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Now that marijuana has been decriminalized in Illinois, what impact do you think the new law will have on drivers? 

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