What Parents Need to Know About Legal Marijuana in Illinois
You might have noticed the perpetual lines at the cannabis dispensaries in Champaign-Urbana these days. But in case you’ve been trapped under a heavy rock and were unable to scrounge up any news, here are a few things to know about Illinois’ legalization of recreational marijuana as of Jan. 1:
–First, you must be 21 to purchase marijuana at licensed dispensaries, and don’t forget your I.D. You will be carded and must show a state identification card to buy it, but they aren’t allowed to record any information.
— You can only buy it at a licensed dispensary. There are two in Champaign-Urbana; Sunnyside in Champaign and NuMed in Urbana. Oh, and bring cash; credit card companies won’t do business with dispensaries just yet.
—You can’t bring kids into the dispensary. Those younger than 21 caught trying to enter a weed shop may have their driver’s licenses suspended and may be charged with a class A misdemeanor.
— There are limits to how much you can buy. Illinoisans are allowed to possess 30 grams of cannabis flower; 500 milligrams of a marijuana-infused product (such as edibles); and 5 grams of cannabis concentrate. Cut each of those amounts in half if you’re not an Illinois resident.
–You must consume marijuana in a private setting such as your home — no smoking in public places. Some cannabis-related businesses allow smoking. However, property owners can ban it – so if you rent, check with your landlord about its policies.
— The law prohibits smoking in close physical proximity to anyone under 21 who is not a registered medical cannabis patient.
— Just as it is illegal for parents or legal guardians to allow persons under age 21 to consume alcoholic beverages on their private property or any property under their control, it is also illegal for parents or legal guardians to knowingly authorize or permit consumption of cannabis by “underage invitees.”
–You cannot use cannabis in your car. In fact, if you purchase cannabis at a dispensary and drive home, you’ll need to keep your purchased unopened and sealed until you get home. If you get stopped for speeding and the officer can smell the marijuana in your car, well, you’re in trouble. (FYI: Illinois law prohibits a THC blood concentration of five nanograms or more per milliliter, regardless of whether the driver is impaired.)
–Driving under the influence of marijuana will still be a crime, no matter where you consumed it or why.
–Unless you need marijuana for medicinal purposes, you can’t grow it at home. (Medical marijuana patients are allowed to grow up to five plants at a time.)
–Be aware of the taxes: Cannabis flower and products that contain less than 35 percent THC are taxed at 10 percent. Cannabis-infused products, like the edibles (e.g., gummies) are taxed at 20 percent. Products that contain more than 35 percent THC are taxed at 25 percent.
—In August of 2019, the United States surgeon general released an advisory regarding marijuana use by pregnant mothers and teens. “Marijuana’s increasingly widespread availability in multiple and highly potent forms, coupled with a false and dangerous perception of safety among youth, merits a nationwide call to action.”
–While some local villages have banned sales of marijuana in their communities, that doesn’t change the state law; it remains legal to possess and use marijuana in the state of Illinois. Marijuana sales were unanimously banned in Savoy and St. Joseph; the Rantoul Village Board voted in November to ban businesses that sell, grow or process marijuana.