Illinois may end Criminal Penalties for Marijuana Possession

Posted by Sagar Satapathy on December 11, 2015.

Rep. Kelly Cassidy has decided to introduce a new legislation for 2016, which aims at replacing criminal penalties with a fine for possession of limited amount of marijuana in Illinois. The new legislation 'HB 4357' would make possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana a civil violation punishable by a fine.

The civil offense would be automatically removed to ensure that adults don't have a permanent criminal record for the violation. A similar proposal was introduced by Rep. Cassidy and approved by the Senate and the House. But, later it was vetoed by Governor Bruce Rauner, who returned the bill to the legislature with a few amendment suggestions.

Members of the Illinois Faith Community joined Rep. Kelly Cassidy to extend support for the bill. Over 50 clergy from across the state have signed a Religious Declaration of Clergy for a New Drug Policy, which sought an end to criminal sanctions for marijuana possession.

Under the existing Illinois law, possession of up to 2.5 grams of marijuana remains a class C offense, punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,500. Possession of 2.5-10 grams of marijuana is a class B offense, punishable by up to 6 months in jail and/or a fine up to $1,500. Similarly, possession of pot between 10 grams and 30 grams, is a class 4 offense, punishable by up to 1 year in jail and/or a fine up to $1,500.

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