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New Illinois Law Legalizing Marijuana in 2020 Frequently Asked Questions

Article written by Illinois & Iowa Attorney Kevin O'Flaherty
Updated on
October 28, 2019

In this article, we explain the new Illinois marijuana law that goes into effect in 2020.  We answer questions about the new law which makes it legal to possess a certain amount of recreational marijuana, to smoke marijuana recreationally in certain places, and to obtain and sell a license to grow and sell recreational, including: 

  • When will the new Illinois marijuana law go into effect?
  • Who will be allowed to smoke marijuana recreationally in Illinois under the new law?
  • How much recreational marijuana can I possess in Illinois under the new law?
  • Where can I buy marijuana in Illinois under the new law?
  • Where will I be allowed to smoke marijuana in Illinois under the new law?
  • Who will be allowed to grow marijuana in Illinois under the new law?
  • How much marijuana can I have in my system without getting a DUI in Illinois?
  • Can I remove prior marijuana possession convictions from my criminal record now that Marijuana is legal in Illinois? 

When Will the New Illinois Marijuana Law Go Into Effect?

The new Illinois Marijuana Law will go into effect on January 1, 2020.  

Who Will Be Allowed to Smoke Marijuana Recreationally in Illinois Under the New Law?

If you are 21 years old or older, you will be allowed to purchase marijuana from licensed sellers and smoke it in Illinois. 

How Much Recreational Marijuana Can I Possess in Illinois Under the New Law?

Beginning on January 1, 2020, if you are 21 years or older and an Illinois resident it will be legal for you to possess 30 grams of marijuana, 5 grams of cannabis concentrate, or edibles containing up to 500 milligrams of THC.  If you are not a resident, you may only possess half of these amounts while visiting Illinois. 

Where Can I Buy Recreational Marijuana in Illinois Under the New Law?

For approximately the first half of 2020, only medical marijuana dispensaries will be permitted to sell recreational marijuana.  After that time period, Illinois will begin granting licenses to other sellers.  Minority-owned businesses will be given preference.  Applicants may be eligible for low-interest loans in order to facilitate startup. 

Where Will I Be Allowed to Smoke Marijuana in Illinois Under the New Law?

Even though Marijuana will be legal, you will still not be permitted to smoke recreationally in public places, in motor vehicles, on school grounds, in proximity to anyone under the age of 21, or in proximity to an on-duty bus driver, police officer, firefighter, or corrections officer.  It will be legal to smoke in your home and in businesses that permit marijuana smoking. 

Who Will Be Allowed to Grow Marijuana in Illinois Under the New Law?  

Medical marijuana patients will be permitted to grow up to five marijuana plants at a time.  Other residents must apply for a license as a craft grower in order to grow marijuana.  The penalty for unlicensed growing of marijuana is $200.00 or more depending on the amount.  Prior to the new law being effective, minor marijuana cultivation offenses were punishable by up to one-year in prison and a $2,500.00 fine.  

How Much Marijuana Can I Have in My System Without Getting a DUI in Illinois?

The legal limit for driving is a THC blood concentration of more than five nanograms per milliliter.  If you have more than that in your system you will be charged with a DUI. 

Can I Remove Prior Marijuana Possession Convictions From My Criminal Record Now that Marijuana is Legal in Illinois? 

If you were convicted of possessing under 30 grams of Marijuana prior to January 1, 2020, your record will likely be automatically expunged as long as the convictions were not part of a violent crime.  

You can petition for expungement of convictions for possession of between 30 and 500 grams of marijuana.  

To learn more about this, check out our article: How to Expunge Marijuana Convictions that Occurred Prior to the New Illinois Marijuana Law.

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Who Will Be Allowed to Smoke Marijuana Recreationally in Illinois Under the New Law?

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