Recreational marijuana is about to become legal in Illinois, but that doesn’t mean you can cruise the highway lazily puffing a joint with your stash on the seat. Be aware that there are still limits.

As with open alcohol, you may not drive while using cannabis in the passenger area of your car while on the road. See 625 ILCS 5/11-502.15. Furthermore, no one may possess cannabis in the car’s passenger compartment unless the cannabis is in a sealed, odor-proof, child resistant cannabis container. Violating either law is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail.

Driving under the influence of marijuana remains illegal. If you drive on Illinois roads, you are deemed to have consented to validated roadside chemical tests as well as other field sobriety tests. Refusing to submit to these tests enables the Illinois Secretary of State to increase the length of your automatic driver’s license suspension. See 625 ILCS 5/11-501.2. Illinois police are currently studying the best way to test for marijuana intoxication.

Producing or possessing more than five marijuana plants remains a felony. However, producing or possessing less than that amount, unless otherwise permitted by law, has been declassified from a Class A misdemeanor to a civil fine. See 720 ILCS 550/8.

If you have been charged with driving under the influence of cannabis or similar offense, contact an experienced DUI attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for its best possible defense. Do the police have probable cause to stop you? Can the state prove you were driving while impaired beyond a reasonable doubt? Even if the police acted lawfully and the evidence against you is overwhelming, an attorney who is respected in the courthouse may be able to negotiate a more favorable plea agreement than you could on your own.

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

About mdkeenan

A criminal and school law attorney with over 17 years of experience, I have successfully represented clients all over the Chicago area. My practice includes DUI, felony, criminal, misdemeanor, homicide, internet crime, retail theft, traffic offenses, cyberstalking, drug crimes, weapons violations, domestic battery and juvenile crime. I also represent families involving school cases. My clients come from all over the Chicago area including Skokie, Wilmette, Niles, Northbrook, Glenview, Evanston, Winnetka, Highland park, Northfield, Park Ridge, Des Plaines and Mount Prospect. I am a member of the ACLU and the Illinois State Bar Association. I serve as a volunteer for First Defense Legal Aid. Se habla espanol.
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