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Illinois Cannabis Law

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A Guide to Illinois Cannabis Law

Illinois became the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana for adult use, after Gov.

J.B. Pritzker signed the bill into law.

When can I buy marijuana in Illinois?

  • Consumers can buy marijuana for recreational use from licensed sellers, as of Jan. 1, 2020.

Who can buy marijuana?

  • Consumers aged 21 and older can buy marijuana products from licensed sellers in Illinois – with or without a medical marijuana card.

Who can sell marijuana legally?

  • Medical marijuana dispensaries are the only legal sellers of marijuana for recreational use in January 2020. Beginning in mid-2020, Illinois will grant additional licenses to dozens of new stores, processors, cultivators and transporters.
  • Up to 295 stores could be in operation in Illinois by 2022, according to Marijuana Business Daily. But county and municipal governments will have the power to decide whether to allow sellers to operate in their area.

How much can I possess?

  • Illinoisans can legally possess 30 grams, or about an ounce, of cannabis flower. The legal limit for cannabis concentrate is 5 grams. And the limit for cannabis-infused products, such as edibles or tinctures, is 500 milligrams of THC, the chemical that gets users high. Illinois visitors are allowed to possess half of those amounts.

Where can I smoke legally?

  • Any person, business or landlord can prohibit use on private property. Illinois colleges and universities are also allowed to ban marijuana use.
  • It is legal to smoke in one’s own home and on-site in some cannabis-related businesses. Use is prohibited in:
    • Any public place, such as streets or parks
    • In any motor vehicle
    • On school grounds, with the exception of medical users
    • Near someone under the age of 21
    • Near an on-duty school bus driver, police officer, firefighter or corrections officer

Can I grow marijuana?

  • Medical marijuana patients are allowed to grow five plants at a time. But non- patients are not allowed to grow marijuana at home – punishable by a civil penalty of $200 for growing up to five plants.
  • Only Illinois’ 20 existing licensed medical marijuana cultivation facilities will be licensed to grow marijuana initially. In 2020, “craft growers” will be able to apply for licenses to cultivate up to 5,000 square feet.

How will it be taxed?

  • Purchases of cannabis flower or products with less than 35% THC are slapped with a 10% sales tax. Cannabis-infused products such as edibles come with a 20% tax. Products with a THC concentration higher than 35% come with a 25% tax. Illinois municipalities and counties are able to levy additional local sales taxes.
    • The new law also imposes a 7% gross receipts tax on the sale of marijuana from cultivators to dispensaries – a cost that will likely be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices.

What happens to criminal records related to marijuana?

  • People convicted for possession of under 30 grams of marijuana prior to legalization will have their records referred to the state’s Prisoner Review Board and then to Gov. J.B. Pritzker for a pardon – as long as those convictions were not associated with a violent crime. If the governor grants the pardon, the Illinois attorney general would then seek expungement.
    • Those convicted for possession between 30 to 500 grams have the option of petitioning for expungement themselves. Local state’s attorneys can also pursue expungement for those convictions on a case-by-case basis.
    • On Dec. 31, Pritzker pardoned more than 11,000 people convicted of low-level marijuana offenses.

What about driving under the influence?

  • Illinois already has a law on the books that makes drivers with THC blood concentration of five nanograms or more per milliliter guilty of driving under the influence, regardless of whether the driver is impaired. The new law creates a DUI Task Force led by Illinois State Police to examine best practices for roadside testing.

Medical Marijuana Conditions for Illinois – Qualifying Conditions

  • Medical Marijuana Conditions for Illinois are as follows:
    • Debilitating Conditions – Medical Marijuana Conditions for Illinois
    • Qualifying patients must be diagnosed with a debilitating condition, as defined in the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, to be eligible for a medical cannabis registry identification card in Illinois.
      • Autism
      • Agitation of Alzheimer’s disease
      • HIV/AIDS
      • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
      • Anorexia nervosa
      • Arnold-Chiari malformation
      • Cancer
      • Cachexia/wasting syndrome
      • Causalgia
      • Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy
      • Chronic pain
      • Crohn’s disease
      • CRPS (complex regional pain syndrome Type II)
      • Dystonia
      • Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
      • Fibrous Dysplasia
      • Glaucoma
      • Hepatitis C
      • Hydrocephalus
      • Hydromyelia
      • Interstitial cystitis
      • Irritable bowel syndrome
      • Lupus
      • Migraines
      • Multiple Sclerosis
      • Muscular Dystrophy
      • Myasthenia Gravis
      • Myoclonus
      • Nail-patella syndrome
      • Neuro-Bechet’s autoimmune disease
      • Neurofibromatosis
      • Neuropathy
      • Osteoarthritis
      • Parkinson’s disease
      • Polycystic kidney disease (PKD)
      • Post-Concussion Syndrome
      • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
      • Reflex sympathetic dystrophy
      • Residual limb pain
      • Rheumatoid arthritis
      • Seizures (including those characteristic of Epilepsy)
      • Severe fibromyalgia
      • Sjogren’s syndrome
      • Spinal cord disease (including but not limited to arachnoiditis)
      • Spinal cord injury is damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity
      • Spinocerebellar ataxia
      • Superior canal dehiscence syndrome
      • Syringomyelia
      • Tarlov cysts
      • Tourette syndrome
      • Traumatic brain injury
      • Ulcerative colitis
  • Minor Qualifying Patient Application – Medical Marijuana Conditions for Illinois
    • Families may choose a one-year, two-year card, or three-year Medical Cannabis Registry Card for a minor with a debilitating condition. One caregiver is included at no charge in the application for a minor. A second caregiver may be added by completing a caregiver application and submitting a $75.00 fee.
    • Minor qualifying patients do not need to submit a photo.
    • A health care professional certification is required as well as a reviewing health care professional certification.
    • A designated caregiver shall be specified for a minor qualifying patient:
    • A qualifying patient under 18 years of age may identify two designated caregivers if both biological parents or two legal guardians have significant decision-making responsibilities over the qualifying patient; or
    • If only one biological parent or legal guardian has significant decision-making responsibilities for the qualifying patient under 18 years of age, then a second designated caregiver may be identified.
    • Qualifying patients who turn 18 years of age during the time period in which their registry identification card is valid may apply for an adult registry identification card immediately or during the normal renewal period. Until that time, the registry identification card shall be subject to the conditions applicable to the registered qualifying patient under age 18.
    • Designated caregivers of registered qualifying patients under 18 years of age may only purchase medical cannabis-infused products from registered dispensing organizations; other types of medical cannabis products are not allowed.

Illinois Advertising Law

Section 1290.455 Dispensary Advertisements

  1. No registered dispensing organization shall place or maintain, or cause to be placed or maintained, an advertisement of cannabis or a cannabis-infused product in any form or through any medium:
    1. Within 1,000 feet of the perimeter of a school grounds, playground, recreation center or facility, child care center, public park or library, or any game arcade admission to which is not restricted to persons age 21 years or older;
    1. On or in a public transit vehicle or public transit shelter; or
    1. On or in a publicly-owned or-operated property.
  2. This Section does not apply to a noncommercial message.

According to the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, cannabis businesses may not engage in advertising that (emphasis added):

  1. is false or misleading;
  2. promotes over consumption of cannabis or cannabis products;
  3. depicts the actual consumption of cannabis or cannabis products;
  • depicts a person under 21 years of age consuming cannabis;
  • makes any health, medicinal, or therapeutic claims about cannabis or cannabis-infused products;
  • includes the image of a cannabis leaf or bud;
  • or includes any image designed or likely to appeal to minors, including cartoons, toys, animals, or children, or any other likeness to images, characters, or phrases that is designed in any manner to be appealing to or encourage consumption of persons under 21 years of age.

Advertising refers to engaging in promotional activities including, but not limited to: newspaper, radio, internet and electronic media, and television advertising; the distribution of fliers and circulars; and the display of window and interior signs. No advertisement of cannabis or a cannabis-infused products is allowed in any form or through any medium:

  1. within 1,000 feet of the perimeter of school grounds, a playground, a recreation center or facility, a child care center, a public park or public library, or a game arcade to which admission is not restricted to persons 21 years of age or older;
  2. on or in a public transit vehicle or public transit shelter;
  3. or on or in publicly owned or publicly operated property.

Illinois Tax Law

Bipartisan bill H.B. 1438, which the General Assembly passed May 31, will allow adults 21 and older to buy marijuana from licensed dispensaries started January 1, 2020. Pritzker signed the bill June 25, 2019.


  • 7% Tax on Sales to Dispensaries
    • Retail Excise Taxes
    • 10% on marijuana with THC level of 35% or less
    • 25% for marijuana with THC level above 35%
    • Local option tax up to 3% [7/1/2020]

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