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Alan E. Jones, Attorney at Law

Last November, Michigan residents voted to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Legalization is becoming more common in states across the country, but the new laws also create complications.

The fact is, marijuana is still illegal according to federal law. Additionally, even states that allow possession and sale of marijuana do so with restrictions. If you live in Illinois, you may see the change in Michigan and consider a road trip and purchase or consume marijuana legally. This, however, could put you in legal jeopardy.

Marijuana is illegal in Illinois

While there are discussions in the state about legalizing recreational marijuana, and possession of a small amount has been decriminalized in Illinois, it is not yet legal. Medical marijuana is allowed, but using it requires a prescription and it must be sold by a licensed professional. It is a highly regulated process.

Outside of specific medical purposes, purchasing, possessing or consuming marijuana anywhere in Illinois is illegal.

Michigan law is narrow and still evolving

Even with the change in Michigan, it is still illegal to purchase the drug. Currently, the law is very narrow and allows for possession of up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana, among other restrictions.

As an Illinois resident, you cannot legally drive to Michigan, purchase the drug and drive home. Doing so could leave you susceptible to charges.

Traveling across state lines

Taking marijuana across state lines is illegal due to federal laws. Period. Traveling across state lines could lead trafficking charges, depending on the circumstances, which comes with serious penalties.

You may be excited about the changes in Michigan, but the reality is the change does little to the legality of marijuana in Illinois. The drug is still illegal and its purchase and use comes with consequences.

This is an area of law that is changing rapidly. Please stay informed and be careful