Jan. 7, 2020 - With the new year comes the implementation of new laws. In 2020, one of the biggest changes in Illinois involves marijuana, which became legal for recrational use Jan. 1.
The new state law allows consumers 21 and older to possess and use marijuana products purchased from licensed sellers without a medical marijuana card.
Initially, medical marijuana dispensaries are the only legal sellers of cannabis for recreational use. But by mid-2020, the state is expected to grant additional licenses to dozens of new stores, processors, cultivators and transporters.
Oak Park has one medical cannabis dispenser, which is expected to begin selling recreational marijuana this year. However, the Village Board adopted a temporary moratorium until more public input can be gathered on whether or not to allow additional sites.
Under state law, Illinois adults may legally possess about an ounce of cannabis flower (30 grams), five grams of cannabis concentrate and cannabis-infused products such as edibles or tinctures with up to 500 milligrams of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.
Out-of-state visitors are allowed to possess only half of the amounts allowed residents, but will be subject to the laws of any states they enter after leaving Illinois.
Illinois law allows adults to use recreational cannabis products in one’s own home and on-site in some cannabis-related businesses, but has several prohibitions, including the following:
- In public places such as streets or parks
- In any motor vehicle
- On school grounds
- Near someone under the age of 21
- Near an on-duty school bus driver, police officer, firefighter or corrections officer
- Any person, business or landlord can prohibit use on private property
Only medical marijuana patients are allowed to grow plants for personal use. The limit is five plants at a time.
Recreational users are not allowed to grow marijuana at home, and could be fined up to $200 if caught violating the law.
Driving under the influence
Illinois law states that drivers with THC blood concentration of five nanograms or more are guilty of driving under the influence, regardless of whether the driver appears impaired.
The Illinois State Police is leading a DUI Cannabis Task Force to examine best practices for roadside testing. The Oak Park Police Department intends to follow guidance developed by the state task force.
Contact the Oak Park Police Department at email@example.com or 708.386.3800 for information about local enforcement of the state’s marijuana laws.
Oak Park health officials warn that just because marijuana is legal does not mean that it is safe.
Underage marijuana use can lead to particularly negative health consequences related to adolescent development. Consumers also are urged to avoid ingesting cannabis via e-cigarettes until the cause of a dangerous and sometimes fatal lung disease tied to vaping is determined.
The Center for Disease Control outlines the following as additional marijuana health risks:
- Daily or near-daily marijuana use can affect memory, learning and attention, effects that can last a week more after use
- Using marijuana during pregnancy or while breastfeeding may harm the baby, just like alcohol or tobacco
- Marijuana use has been linked to anxiety, depression and schizophrenia, but scientists don’t yet know whether it directly causes these diseases
- Smoking any product, including marijuana, can damage lungs and cardiovascular systems
For more information about the health risks associated with marijuana use, contact the Health Department at firstname.lastname@example.org or 708.358.5480.