There is no doubt that laws regarding marijuana are liberalizing.

A new law effective July 29, 2016 takes marijuana out of the trace law–the law that convicts you for DUI if you cause a serious accident whether or not you were actually impaired. (See our post Changes to Illinois Law on Marijuana and DUI). On August 2, 2013, Illinois Governor Patrick Quinn signed the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act enabling patients with certain debilitating medical conditions to obtain marijuana from licensed dispensaries. In April, 2015, Cook County Prosecutor Anita Alvarez announced that her office would no longer prosecute misdemeanor marijuana offenses.

But illegal possession of marijuana can still get you in trouble in several ways.

For one thing, Cook County’s decision to ease up on marijuana did not mean an end to all marijuana-related arrests. While the State’s Attorney’s office may now offer treatment instead of jail, this new tolerance does not apply to offenders with a violent history or who are suspected of dealing.

Even as a legally registered user, you may not operate a motor vehicle while under the influence or otherwise act negligently, and you may not keep marijuana in your car unless it is sealed and inaccessible while driving. You may not smoke publicly or in a motor vehicle, school bus, school, correctional facility, or day care.

Registrered users may not possess cannabis in a school, school bus, day care, or correctional facility. They may not knowingly use marijuana in close proximity to a minor—which could prompt a visit or worse from the Department of Child and Family Services.

If you are charged with a cannabis or other offense, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. An experienced attorney can review your case for your best possible defense. Perhaps you had marijuana in your car, but the police lacked the probable cause to stop you or show that you had the necessary possession and control of the car to prove the marijuana was yours. Perhaps you did not know you were too close to a minor while you were smoking.

If you have questions about your particular case or another related 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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