Cannabis Possession, Sale, Manufacture & Trafficking
Compared to penalties for controlled substances, penalties for cannabis are generally less severe. In response to the recent developments within the scientific and medical communities regarding the medical uses of cannabis (marijuana) to treat any number of physical or psychological disorders (including, most recently, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD), the Illinois Legislature revamped much of the law in Illinois as it pertains to possession and use of the drug (the laws regarding the trafficking of, or manufacture, delivery, or possession with intent to distribute cannabis outside of the recognized medical marijuana network of distributors are unchanged for the most part).
In the past, possession of even a tiny amount of marijuana was still considered a misdemeanor offense which carried potential jail penalties. Under the new law, possession of an amount less than or equal to 10 grams is a petty offense punishable by a fine of $100 to $200. An amount more than 10 grams, but less than or equal to 30 grams is a class B misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of up to 6 months in jail, a fine up to $1,500 or both. More than 30 but not more than 100 grams is a class A misdemeanor, the maximum sentence is up to 364 days in jail, a fine up to $2,500 or both. Over 100 grams, but not more than 500 grams is now a class 4 felony, unless it is a subsequent offense, then it is a class 3 felony. More than 500 but not more than 2,000 grams is a class 3 felony, and more than 2,000 grams but not more than 5,000 grams (11 pounds) is a class 2 felony. Oddly, there is no penalty listed for possession of more than 5,000 grams. Perhaps because the legislature determined that no one needs to possess more than 11 pounds for personal use only.
Cannabis Sale, Delivery & Manufacture
As for the manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to deliver cannabis, those penalties remain unchanged, with respect to the following penalty structure:
- Not more than 2.5 grams—Class B Misdemeanor
- More than 2.5 but not more than 10 grams—Class A Misdemeanor
- More than 10 but not more than 30 grams—Class 4 Felony
- More than 30 but not more than 500 grams—Class 3 Felony, fine up to $50,000
- More than 500 but not more than 2,000 grams—Class 2 Felony, fine up to $100,000\
- More than 2,000 but not more than 5,000 grams—Class 1 Felony, fine up to $150K
- More than 5,000 grams—Class X Felony, fine up to $200,000
When someone is charged with a Class X Felony, it does not allow for the possibility of probation, conditional discharge, periodic imprisonment, or any form of relief from incarceration. The mandatory prison term is not less than 6 years, and not more than 30 years.
As one can see, there are still significant penalties for dealing in marijuana. Because marijuana is often imported into Illinois from outside States or Countries in large quantities for distribution within Illinois, the Illinois legislature enacted the Cannabis Trafficking statute. One commits “Cannabis Trafficking” by knowingly bringing (or causing to be brought) into Illinois for the purpose of manufacture or delivery or with the intent to manufacture or deliver 2,500 grams or more of cannabis. If found guilty, a person faces fines and a mandatory prison term that is within double the range of the sentence for violations of the same amounts if not brought across State lines for distribution. This means that someone convicted of trafficking 2,500 grams up to 5,000 grams faces a prison term between 8 to 30 years and a fine up to $300,000; someone convicted of 5,000.01 grams or more faces 12 to 60 years and a fine up to $400,000.
Sale of Cannabis near a School
The law also treats harshly anyone that delivers, possesses with intent to deliver, or manufactures cannabis on any school grounds, or within 1,000 feet of the real property of any school, or school bus. While a small quantity (2.5 grams or less) is still only a Class A misdemeanor, as the amounts increase, the seriousness of the felony increases. Make no mistake, if drugs are sold anywhere near a school, police will take a measuring tape device and walk out the most direct route to the school grounds to get it within that 1,000 feet. The school doesn’t even have to be in session, or even still be open as a school for this enhancement to apply. If a person over the age of 18 sells cannabis to anyone who is at least 3 years younger, even if it does not happen on or near school grounds, he or she will still face enhanced penalties and may be sentenced to imprisonment for up to twice the maximum term otherwise applicable.
Speak to an Experienced Cannabis Defense Lawyer
Any drug crime is a potential roadblock to your future. Whether charged merely for possessing cannabis or for the sale of the drug, any conviction may interfere with future jobs, schools or promotions. Contact an experienced Chicago drug crime defense lawyer immediately if you have been charged with any crime. Call Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC now for a free consultation at (800) 996-4824.