As of May 2017, Illinois has not legalized recreational use of marijuana. If you do not have a medical marijuana card, you need to be aware that recreational use of marijuana, possession of marijuana, and intent to sell marijuana, are serious crimes in Illinois.

What are the Penalties for Marijuana Possession?

Illinois’ laws have provisions that enable first time offenders to get off relatively easily. Although the punishments for possessing under 30 grams of marijuana (a misdemeanor) range from 30 days to a year in jail, a judge can grant a 24-month probation in lieu of jail time, after which the charges will be dismissed.  However, after the first offense (or for any possession of more than 30 grams), the penalties swiftly become severe. The penalties are as follows:




Second offense of 10 to 30 g

1 – 6 years in prison

First offense of 30 to 500 g

1 – 6 years in prison

Second offense of 30 to 500 g

2 – 10 years in prison

500 to 2,000 g

2 – 10 years in prison

2,000 to 5,000 g

3 – 14 years in prison

More than 5,000 g

4 – 30 years in prison

In addition, possession of any amount of marijuana over 30 grams will automatically levy a $25,000 fine.

It’s also important to know that there are separate convictions and charges for selling/trafficking and growing marijuana, as well as possession of other forms of marijuana (like hash) and paraphernalia. This means if you bring marijuana into the state illegally for your use or to share with friends, you might face charges of possession as well as selling and/or trafficking.

What Are Illinois’ Regulations of Growing Marijuana in My Private Home?

Growing marijuana is illegal in Illinois and the number of plants you are growing increases the severity of the punishment for marijuana cultivation. “Plants” here is a somewhat vague term, and it can sometimes include very tiny saplings or even budding seeds, so the number of plants determined is often at the discretion of the judge. Raising less than 5 plants will only be classified as a misdemeanor, but can still get you a year in jail. Raising more than 5 plants is a felony, and such the penalties become harsher.

Essentially, the punishment for illegally growing marijuana are:


Number of Plants


5 plants or less

1 year in prison and up to $2,500 fine

5 to 20 plants

1 – 6 years in prison and up to $25,000 fine

20 to 50 plants

2 – 10 years in prison and up to $25,000 fine

50 to 200 plants

3 – 14 years in prison and up to $100,000 fine

More than 200 plants

4 – 30 years in prison and a $100,000 fine

What Are the Medical Marijuana Laws in Illinois?

In August 2013 Illinois legalized medical marijuana and in 2015 and 2016 they amended the act to allowed qualifying children under the age of 18 years-old to use medical marijuana.

But in order to legally use and purchase marijuana for medical reasons, you must fill out and submit a form to the State of Illinois. You must also have approval by a licensed physician and have one of the qualify illnesses, which are some of the following:

  • ALS;
  • Cancer;
  • Crohn’s Disease;
  • Glaucoma;
  • Hepatitis C;
  • Lupus;
  • Multiple Sclerosis;
  • PTSD; and/or
  • Many other chronic illnesses

Can You Get a DUI For Driving After Smoking Marijuana?

Illinois has a zero tolerance drunk driving law enacted for cannabis, cannabis metabolites, and other controlled substances. This means that if there is any amount of illicit drugs in your system while you are driving, you will be arrested for DUID (Driving Under the Influence of Drugs). Violating this law is punishable by up to 12 months in jail upon conviction for a first offense, as well as having your license suspended.

Do I Need a Lawyer for a Marijuana Offense in Illinois?

If you have been arrested for any sort of crime involving marijuana in Illinois, it is very important to get an experienced Illinois drug crime lawyer right away. The advice of an attorney may help you understand both the procedural aspects of criminal prosecution and local attitudes in your jurisdiction toward prosecution for possession of this drug.