Starting Jan. 1, it will be legal for adults to possess and use recreational marijuana in Illinois, but new law includes limits on how much residents can have and where they can use it.
Executive Director of the Cannabis Business Association of Illinois Pam Althoff said legal marijuana will mean more opportunities.
“It’s going to create new opportunities for employment,” Althoff said. She also pointed to the social equity elements in the law. The state legislation that legalized marijuana requires that communities that have been historically affected by the criminalization of marijuana have an opportunity to participate in the legal cannabis industry.
Lawmakers passed House Bill 1438 over the summer. The measure, which makes recreational marijuana use legal, goes into effect at 6 a.m. Jan. 1.
The law will allow adults 21 and older to legally buy cannabis for recreational from state-licensed dispensaries. The private sale of cannabis will still be illegal.
Illinois residents will be able to have up to 30 grams of flower, up to 500mg of THC in edibles and up to 5 grams of cannabis concentrate. Nonresidents will be allowed to have half those amounts. Home cultivation won’t be allowed for recreational use. Previous state law allows some medical marijuana users the ability to grow their own.
The regulations are similar to alcohol regulations. Enforcement of the laws will also be similar. Just like alcohol, it will be illegal to have an open container of marijuana in a vehicle. Cannabis must be in a sealed, child-proof container. Like alcohol, it will be illegal to use marijuana in a vehicle.
Illinois State Police Public Information Officer Mindy Carroll said drivers shouldn’t expect much of a difference in traffic enforcement. Impaired driving isn’t limited to alcohol.
“It’s similar to alcohol, people need to know their limits,” Carroll said.
“We want to remind the public that even though this law goes into effect Jan. 1, we are still going to be enforcing driving under the influence,” Carroll said. “It’s one of our biggest reasons for fatalities.”
Carroll said the Illinois State Police is prepared to enforce impaired driving laws “because not a lot of that has changed.”
“We’re still going to look for those signs that a motorist may be driving impaired,” she said.
State law will prohibit public cannabis use, including on sidewalks and in parks, bars, restaurants, schools, or anywhere the user can be be seen by others.
(Copyright WBGZ Radio/ www.AltonDailyNews.com)