The Illinois Senate approved a bill to remove criminal penalties for possession of a small amount of marijuana. The measure, which was approved by the House of Representatives in April, will now be sent to Gov. Bruce Rauner for his signature.
HB 218, introduced in the Senate by Sen. Michael Noland and in the House by Rep. Kelly Cassidy, makes possession of up to 15 grams of marijuana a civil law violation punishable by a $125 fine. Individuals will no longer face time in jail, and the civil offense will be automatically expunged in order to prevent a permanent criminal record.
Under current Illinois law, possession of up to 2.5 grams of marijuana is a class C misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,500; possession of 2.5-10 grams is a class B misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,500; and possession of 10-30 grams is a class 4 felony punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a $1,500 fine. More than 100 localities inIllinoishave adopted measures that reduce penalties for simple marijuana possession.