Illinois Cannabis Legalization

Take a look at cannabis legalization regulations in communities across Illinois

frequently asked questions

Are there packaging and advertising restrictions on products?

Yes! With regard to Packaging, Cannabis products

•Must be in sealed, odor proof, child resistant packages •Required to have harvested on/use by dates •Must list contents including % of THC, THCA, CBD, CBDA, and all ingredients. Any solvents present in concentrates •May not have any images of marijuana leaf or any images designed to appeal to minors •Must have a warning statement created by the Department of Public Health. On products designed for smoking it must state, “Smoking is Hazardous”, on edible products must state, “Intoxication may be delayed by 2 hours”, topical products must state, “Do not Eat”. •Edible products must not contain more than 100mg total THC and must be clearly separated into 10 mg servings.

With regard to Advertising

• Restrictions against false/misleading information • May not promote overconsumption • May not depict any image of a marijuana leaf or consumption of cannabis • May not include anyone under the age of 21 • May not make any health, medicinal, or therapeutic claims • May not use any images designed to “appeal to minors” • No advertising within 1000 feet of a school, playground, public park, library, on public transportation, or in a public transit shelter.

Can anyone use cannabis anywhere at anytime?

Possession will still be illegal:

On school buses • In Preschools, primary/secondary schools • Correctional facilities • Residences used for child care

Use will be illegal:

On school buses • In Motor vehicles • In preschools, primary/secondary schools • In Residences used for child care • Any public place • In close proximity to anyone under the age of 21 • Any place prohibited by Smoke Free Illinois


May not operate a motor vehicle, aircraft, motorboat while under the influence • Illegal to facilitate use of anyone not allowed under the law or to transfer cannabis to anyone not allowed under the law • Illegal for any on duty Law Enforcement/Correctional/Probation officer, Firefighter, bus driver, or driver with a CDL • Condo associations may prohibit smoking cannabis within an owner’s unit

Can my employer fire me for using cannabis?

If an employee uses a legal substance off premises during non-working or non-call hours, your employer legally cannot fire you or a potential employer legally cannot cite that as a reason to not hire you. However, employers still reserve the right to adopt zero tolerance or drug free workplace policies.

“Nothing in this Act shall be construed to create or imply a cause of action for any person against an employer for actions taken pursuant to an employer’s reasonable workplace drug policy, including but not limited to subjecting an employee or applicant to reasonable drug and alcohol testing, reasonable and nondiscriminatory random drug testing, and discipline, termination of employment, or withdrawal of a job offer due to a failure of a drug test.” 410 ILCS 705/10-50 (e)(1).

Note: possession or use in any capacity for federal employees is still illegal.

Can one drive under the influence of cannabis?

No. In this context, think of using cannabis like using alcohol, not cigarettes. The DUI implications are similar. While agencies are still working on a roadside test to measure level of impairment, they are relying on expert opinion and things like smell, behavior, and urine tests. Since these measures are not completly reliable, people have been recommended to stay off cannabis completely if they are expected to drive.

Click HERE to get specifics about cannabis DUIs

Can people start growing their own cannabis plants?

No. Only those who possess a medical marijuana license are allowed to grow (upto 5) plants. There are also strict limitations as to where they can grow them, under what conditions, etc.

How does the expungement process work in Illinois?
How is the Illinois Bill different from other states who have also legalized cannabis?

Illinois is the first state to create a commercial recreational marijuana industry through the legislature rather than by voter initiative.

How many dispensaries will open on January 1st 2020?

As of Deceber 2019, 32 dispensaries have been scheduled to open around the state, 9 of which are in Chicago. Note, the dispensaries that are opening have previously held a license to sell medical cannabis (marijuana).

How will it be taxed?

"There is a graduated tax set up for recreational marijuana in Illinois:

Cannabis-infused products with less than 35% THC will be taxed at 10% of the purchase price; Cannabis-infused products with more than 35% THC will be taxed at 20% of the purchase price; Cannabis with more than 35% THC will be taxed at 25% of the purchase price
Medical marijuana is exempted from these taxes. Individual municipalities can also levy additional taxes on recreational marijuana if they choose to, in .25% increments not exceeding 3.75% in unincorporated areas of a county, .75% in a municipality located in a non-home rule county, and 3% in municipalities located in home rule counties."


What are the possession or purchase limits?

Starting January 1, 2020, adults 21 and older may possess/purchase cannabis products in licensed stores. Possession is limited to 30 grams of raw cannabis;Cannabis-infused product or products containing no more than 500 mg of THC; and 5 grams of cannabis product in concentrated form. Non-residents may purchase or possess half of those amounts.

What is the legal age to purchase or possess cannabis?


Where will this new cannabis come from on January 1?

The cannabis that will be available for sale starting January 1, will be from dispensaries that were/are also medical cannabis dispensaries. The product that they will sell will therefore be vetted my the medical industry. A round of licenses will be handed out between March to May 2020. After which market demand and disparity studies will be conducted before approval of more licenses in 2021. There will be state level regulatory labs and agencies in place to test products that enter the market.

Will cannabis be sold in every community in Illinois?

No, some communities have chosen to restrict or ban sales of cannabis irrespective of statewide legalization.

Revenue Distribution

After covering the costs of administration and expungement, the remaining funds will be distributed as follows:

2%: to public education and safety campaigns (DHS drug treatment fund)

8%: to the Local Government Distributive Fund, for prevention and training for law enforcement

25%: to the Recover, Reinvest, and Renew (3R) Program

20%: to mental health services and substance abuse programs (DHS community service fund)

10%: to pay unpaid bills

35%: to the General Revenue Fund

licensing timeline

There are strict regulations on WHO gets to apply for a license in the cannabis industry, WHEN they get to apply, and HOW long their license lasts.

Note: On January 1, only existing medical cannabis cultivators and dispensaries will cultivate and provide to adult consumers until additional licensees can apply and get approved.

1/2020: Retail sales begin issued

5/2020: New licenses issued

6/2020: Disparity & Availability study results are due

3/2021: Study results are due

4/2021: All EA licenses expire

12/2021: New licenses are issued

Programs under the legalization bill

Read The Bill
R3: Restore, Reinvest, Renew

Expungement laws, Social Equity, 24 member advisory panel on public health impacts of legalization.

Social Equity

Benefit areas that were disproportionately affected by the “war on drugs” policies (through expungement, business support, financial resources for start-ups, and community resources)

Cannabis Business Development Fund

Created in the state treasury: Low interest rate loans, grants, compensations, research, outreach, job training for social equity applicants.

Job Training Program

By the Dept of Agriculture and Illinois Community College Board 4 year pilot program— 8 community colleges can apply to participate to include “plant handling” in college curriculum.

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