Cannabis in Illinois

Marijuana Laws

What is Cannabis?

Cannabis is defined as marijuana, hashish and other substances which come from any parts of the Cannabis Sativa plant including the seeds, extracted resin and any compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and all other cannabinol derivatives, including synthetically produced ingredients, whether produced directly or indirectly by extraction, or independently by means of chemical synthesis or by a combination of extraction and chemical synthesis. Cannabis also includes concentrate and cannabis-infused products.

What is NOT Cannabis?

Cannabis is NOT the mature stalks of the Cannabis Sativa plant, fiber produced from the stalks, oil or cake made from the seeds or any other compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such mature stalks (except for extracted resin), fiber, oil or cake, or the sterilized seed of such plant which is incapable of germination.

Recreational Cannabis - Cannabis Regulation & Tax Act (CRTA)

As of January 1, 2020, certain personal possession of cannabis has been allowed for recreational use.

  • 21 or older AND an Illinois resident may possess:
    • 30 grams of cannabis flower
    • 500 milligrams of THC contained in cannabis-infused products
    • 5 grams of cannabis concentrate
  • 21 or older but NOT an Illinois resident may possess:
    • 15 grams of cannabis flower
    • 250 milligrams of THC contained in cannabis-infused products
    • 2.5 grams of cannabis concentrate

These amounts are cumulative and can be combined together.

Where can I Possess Cannabis?

Any person 21 years or older may possess cannabis, subject to the limits of CRTA, in a public or private setting unless the place is:

  • A child care facility
  • A school
  • A correctional facility

Possession of Cannabis under 21

It is unlawful for any person under the age of 21 to possess cannabis except for medical cannabis.

Violations are Civil Penalties including a fine ranging from $100 to $200. If the violation occurs while in a motor vehicle, driving privileges can be suspended or revoked.

Possession of adult use Cannabis in a motor vehicle

Drivers and passengers cannot possess cannabis in a motor vehicle on State roads UNLESS in a sealed, odor-proof, child-resistant cannabis container. Violations are a class A misdemeanor. If Under 21, driving license may be suspended.

Drivers and passengers of motor vehicles also cannot use cannabis on State roads.

Unlawful Possession of Cannabis

Except as provided in CRTA, it is unlawful to possess cannabis:

  • Not more than 10 grams
    • Civil law violation, minimum fine $100, maximum fine of $200
  • More than 10 grams but not more than 30 grams
    • Class B misdemeanor
  • More than 30 grams but not more than 100 grams
    • Class A misdemeanor
    • Subsequent offense, Class 4 felony
  • More than 100 grams but not more than 500 grams
    • Class 4 felony
    • Subsequent offense, Class 3 felony
  • More than 500 grams but not more than 2,000 grams
    • Class 3 felony
  • More than 2,000 grams but not more than 5,000 grams
    • Class 2 felony
  • More than 5,000 grams
    • Class 1 felony

Cannabis & Fake IDs

It is unlawful for a person under 21, to present or offer to a cannabis business establishment written or oral evidence of age that is false, fraudulent, or not actually the person's own to enter a cannabis business establishment or to purchase or attempting to purchase, or otherwise obtaining or attempting to obtain cannabis or any cannabis product.

Penalties for this offense are a Class A misdemeanor and suspension/revocation of driving privileges.

Production of Cannabis Sativa Plant

Except for Registered Medical Cannabis patients, it is unlawful to knowingly grow Cannabis sativa plants or possess such plants:

  • 5 plants or less is a Civil violation with a minimum fine $100 and a maximum fine $200.
  • More than 5 plants is a felony offense.

Manufacture/Delivery of Cannabis

Except for CRTA, It is unlawful for any person knowingly to manufacture, deliver, or possess with intent to deliver cannabis. 10 grams or less is a misdemeanor offense, any larger amount is a felony with harsher penalties as the amount increases.

Cannabis DUI

A person cannot drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle while:

  • Having a concentration of 5ng THC in whole blood or 10ng THC in other bodily substances;
  • Under the influence of cannabis to a degree that it causes unsafe driving;
  • Under the combined influence of alcohol, cannabis, or intoxicating compounds to a degree that it causes unsafe driving.

Medical Cannabis & DUI

A medical cannabis card holder can operate a vehicle with a THC concentration higher than the amounts above as long it does not impair their ability to drive.

Failure to submit to chemical testing will result in the revocation of the medical cannabis card.

The penalties for driving under the influence of cannabis are structured the same as any other DUI.

Recreational Use

Cannabis cannot be used in any public place, including any buildings owned or leased by state of Illinois or local government, including the University of Illinois.

Cannabis cannot be used on a school bus, on the grounds of a school, or in a correctional facility.

Cannabis cannot be used when operating a motor vehicle, motorboat, or aircraft.

Use of cannabis in a private residence is allowed UNLESS:

  • There is close proximity to a person under 21
  • The residence is a licensed child care facility
  • A place prohibited under the Smoke Free Illinois Act

Private businesses may prohibit use of cannabis, but cannot bar possession.


Landlords are not required to allow tenants to use cannabis on or in a rental property. However, they cannot bar possession of cannabis.

Student Discipline

The University of Illinois can institute disciplinary proceedings against any student who is in possession of cannabis or are accused of selling cannabis.

CRTA does not change federal law or the University’s marijuana prohibition, including its ban on Medical Cannabis.

Occupational/Professional Licensing in Illinois

*These are Illinois specific protections ONLY.*

If you are in possession of cannabis you cannot be subject to civil penalty or disciplinary action solely on cannabis use if:

  • Amounts are within the CRTA limits
  • Cannabis use does not impair when engaged in practice of the profession

Undertaking tasks under the influence of cannabis when doing so would constitute negligence, professional malpractice, or professional misconduct is NOT protected.

Useful Contacts

The information contained herein is not intended as a substitute for legal advice. Students who are confronted with legal problems or who need specific advice are encouraged to seek assistance from a licensed attorney at Student Legal Services.


Brochure Download

The information on this page is also available to download in brochure form.