Illinois Marijuana Laws: Is Marijuana Legal in Illinois?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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Possession of marijuana is illegal in Illinois. A state bill to legalize medical marijuana passed in the Illinois Senate in May of 2009, but the bill is not expected to pass in the House by the end of 2010 (the deadline before it will need to be reapproved in the Senate). Note that in Illinois statutes, marijuana is referred to as cannabis or “marihuana.”

What are the Penalties for the Possession of Marijuana in Illinois?

If you are arrested for charges relating to possession of marijuana in Illinois, the penalties you face will depend on both the amount of marijuana you possessed and on your intended use for it. As in all states, penalties imposed for marijuana possession in Illinois can include incarceration, fines, and marijuana addiction treatment. Those found to possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use only will typically face much more lenient penalties than those with large amounts and/or who intend to sell marijuana. Keep in mind also that possession of synthetic forms of marijuana (such as tetrahydrocannabinols) or concentrated marijuana (hashish) will often face stiffer penalties than those who possess organic marijuana. However, the substance known as K2, which attempts to imitate the effects of marijuana, is still legal in Illinois until January 1, 2011.

Note that in Illinois, as in all states, you do not have to be caught in the act of selling marijuana to actually be charged with attempted distribution. Merely possessing a large amount of marijuana, measuring equipment, baggies, or other marijuana paraphernalia can be used as evidence of your intent to sell. The table below indicates Illinois penalties for acts related to the possession and distribution of marijuana under Illinois law. There are separate penalties under federal law. Due to the complicated nature of state marijuana laws, specific penalties in Illinois could vary depending on your particular circumstances. Consulting an experienced Illinois criminal attorney is a must if yours is a complicated arrest situation.

Illinois Marijuana Penalties Table



Incarceration 3

Fine (max)

(on 1st offense)

1st Offense

2nd or more

Possession or Gifting 2.5 g or less 30 days max Same $1,500 Misdemeanor (C)
Over 2.5 g – 10 g 6 months max Same $1,500 Misdemeanor (B)
Over 10 g thru 30 g 364 days max See Below 1 $2,500 Misdemeanor (A)
Over 30 g – 500 g 1-3 years See Below 1 $25,000 Felony (4)
Over 500 g – 2,000 g 2-5 years 2-10 years $25,000 Felony (3)
Over 2,000 – 5,000 g 3-7 years 3-14 years 4 $25,000 Felony (2)
Over 5,000 g 4-15 years 4-30 years 4 $25,000 Felony (1)
Sale 2.5 g or less 2 6 months Same $1,500 Misdemeanor (B)
Over 2.5 g – 10 g 2 364 days max Same $2,500 Misdemeanor (A)
Over 10 g 30 g 2 1-3 years See Below 1 $25,000 Felony (4)
Over 30 g – 500 g 2 2-5 years 2-10 years $50,000 Felony (3)
Over 500 g – 2,000 g 2 3-7 years 3-14 years 4 $100,000 Felony (2)
Over 2,000 – 5,000 g 4-15 years 4-30 years 4 $150,000 Felony (1)
Over 5,000 g 6-30 years 6-60 years $200,000 Felony (X)
Cultivation 5 plants or less 364 days max Same $25,000 Misdemeanor (A)
6-20 plants 1-3 years 1-6 years $25,000 Felony (4)
21-50 plants 2-5 years 2-10 years $25,000 Felony (3)
51-200 plants 3-7 years 3-14 years 4 $100,000 Felony (2)
Over 200 plants 4-15 years 4-30 years 4 $100,000 Felony (1)
  1. The second offenses marked result in penalties equal to the 1st offense of the next higher offense. This includes a felony charge.
  2. Marked offenses committed within 1,000 feet of school property or conveyance used to transport students to and from school result in incarceration penalties equal to the next higher offense on the table. Fines may be even in excess of that.
  3. Incarceration periods may be extended under Illinois extended term sentence law for felonies, depending on the circumstances of the crime. Extended term sentence maximums are indicated under “2nd or more” penalty periods on the table.
  4. The felonies marked result in an incarceration of 6-60 years on the third offense.

Follow this link for more information about Illinois Marijuana Laws and Illinois Medical Marijuana Laws

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