The Inquisitr reports that Governor Bruce Rauner signed the new cannabis law allowing people to carry small amounts of marijuana. Residents of the state caught with the plant will still get a small citation but will not go to jail.
Under the new marijuana law of Illinois, anyone caught with 10g or less will be fined up to $200. The citations are automatically wiped twice a year on the 1st of January and July. Municipalities still have the right to up the fines or implement other punishments such as mandatory drug treatment, over and above the statewide uniformity regulation.
How accurate is THC testing for drivers?
In the past, anyone caught with 10g or less cannabis faced a possible jail sentence of six months and a fine of up to $1,500. A driver could have been charged with a DUI at any whiff of cannabis.
Currently, a driver must test for five nanograms or more of THC (the psychoactive component of cannabis) when a saliva test is done, to get a fine.
Some commentators, such as Michael O’Meara, a private defense attorney, doubt the testing for THC during a traffic stop can be done efficiently. It will be difficult to prosecute DUI cases for marijuana he said.
If test results are not reliable, it will be difficult to prove in court that someone was stoned at the time they were fined. O’Meara predicts many people will refuse the blood or saliva tests.
The local law of Chicago passed in 2012 states that police can issue a fine of $250 – 500 to anyone in possession of 15g or less. The new law will supersede the Chicago ordinance. This makes it easier for towns and municipalities to follow uniform measures through the state, and implement law where no marijuana laws existed before.
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Approval by the governor:
The approval signed by the governor to decriminalize marijuana follows changes made by the General Assembly. Governor Rauner felt there was not enough restriction on the amount of cannabis people could carry around, and the fines were too small. Even though cannabis is decriminalized, it is still unlawful to possess, and the Illinois State Police will still be looking for offenders.
Amy Campanelli from Cook County Public Defender’s office says she is thrilled by the approach, as it is a progressive and fair justice reform.
ISP Director Leo P. Schmitz warns that the public should be reminded cannabis possession without a medical marijuana card is still illegal, and subject to fines. Drivers under the influence will still be arrested and prosecuted.
The new law on marijuana will certainly help the congested court system in Illinois.
Gov. Rauner was applauded by Chris Lindsey, the senior legislative counselor for the Marijuana Policy Project. He said it is a much more sensible policy that will prevent countless citizen’s lives being ruined by marijuana arrests.
The new marijuana law is great news, as users are no longer seen as criminals.
Illinois is the 21st state to make small amounts of cannabis possession a civil matter rather than a criminal offence. It will prevent many people from going to jail and having a criminal record, but police will still confiscate and destroy the cannabis found. CBD oil is a safe way to get the benefit of medical cannabis without a patients’ card, because its THC content is too low to show up in drug tests.