For now, Illinois is the 17th state that has allowed marijuana possession in amounts less than 10 grams. More than that, according to the new law, weed possession will be punishable with fines but not jail time as it had been before governor Bruce Rauner signed the legislation on Friday. Illinois marijuana legalization makes it possible to have 10 grams or less of marijuana, which will be classified as a civil offense punished with a fine of just $200.
The new law will take effect immediately, and what is even more important, the law sets a new standard for what is considered too dangerous of a dose to drive. As of now, the presence of marijuana traces in the body is considered an impairment. And that is wrong as marijuana can store traces in the human system for several weeks and even months. The new law allows five nanograms of THC, the main active component of marijuana, to be present in the driver’s blood. The first media representative who reported the bill signing was the Associated Press. The news was leaked by a state official who knew about the governor’s decision and decided to share the information with AP on the condition of anonymity as the formal announcement had not been made yet.
With Rauner’s signature, the state joins the sixteen other states with decriminalized possession of marijuana. The sheriffs of Illinois have had some doubts about the law change and worked with governor Rauner for weeks to get ready for the law’s implementation. According to the words of Laimutis Nargelenas, a former lobbyist and the police chief for the Springfield Park District, the residents will get more opportunities for drug consumption. He has announced that authorities are still working on the paperwork for car accidents to track how many drivers drive under the influence of marijuana across the state.
The sponsors of the new Illinois law supported the actions of the governor as it would make the state focus on tracking and treating people who use more serious types of drugs. Additionally, the supporters of the law claim that people should not have criminal records for keeping small amounts of marijuana as it creates a lot of difficulties for them while looking for a job.