Since the beginning of 2020, Illinois law has allowed possession of small amounts of marijuana, such as up to an ounce of flower and up to five grams of concentrated cannabis (i.e., hashish and tincture). While growing your own marijuana for recreational use is still illegal, adults can go to their local cannabis shop to buy their supply.
But legalization only applies to people 21 and older. For adults 18-21 and juveniles, marijuana possession is still against the law (unless the person has a prescription for medical marijuana). However, if a police officer catches your teenager is caught with marijuana, they are no longer at risk of getting arrested.
Not legal, but decriminalized
That is because, under the new marijuana law, juvenile possession is a civil offense, not a crime. If your son or daughter is caught possessing cannabis, the officer will issue a ticket with a fine of $100-200. If they were driving and the officer allegedly finds marijuana in the vehicle, your teen’s driver’s license could get suspended or revoked.
That may be a relief for DuPage County parents. But losing their driver’s license can be a major burden on teens who rely on their car to get to school and work. Plus, the ticket for possession may be only one of the charges your child could face, depending on what the officer accuses them of doing. For example, the officer may also arrest them on suspicion of driving while under the influence of marijuana.
A marijuana possession charge against a Chicago-area teen is not as serious as it used to be. But as the parents of a teen accused of having marijuana on them, it still can require your attention.