Important facts about legal weed in Illinois

Published Sep 12, 2021 12:00 p.m. ET
iStock / Antwon McMullen

Illinois was the eleventh US state to legalize recreational cannabis for adults, and since then, it’s become a popular tourist destination for enthusiasts who crave a truly 420 friendly experience. Whether you reside in the state or just considering a nice temporary visit, these are some of the most important things you should know about the local marijuana laws.

The legal age in Illinois

Anyone who is 21 or older may legally purchase, possesses, and consume cannabis in this state. No medical card or application process is required.

How to buy weed in Illinois

For a very long time, the only licensed Illinois dispensaries were medical facilities that were established before the new law came into effect at the beginning of 2020. However, these days, there are plenty of options for consumers who seek a unique shopping experience through recreationally focused stores. Still, it is important to do your research to ensure that any Illinois dispensaries you visit are properly licensed by the state because buying from black market dealers is illegal, and some of them are quite good at looking legitimate.

Possession limits

Illinois marijuana possession limits are unique because there are very different rules for residents than there are for visitors. Those who reside here may have up to 30 grams of flower, 5 grams of concentrate, and edibles, while those who are just passing through may only possess half that amount.

Cannabinoid limits

Edibles are a huge part of the market in Illinois because it boasts some of the most generous limits with a current maximum of 500mg of THC per product. Of course, most offerings aren’t typically quite that high, but for those with a higher than average tolerance, this amount of breathing room is heaven.

Where to smoke legally

It is legal to consume cannabis in someone's home, and some green businesses also allow its use on-premises. However, landlords and property owners have every right to ban cannabis consumption on private property, which is why many renters still can’t get high in the comfort of their own living rooms.

Where to avoid toking in Illinois

Cannabis use in Illinois is prohibited in any public space, motor vehicles, on school properties and near anyone below legal age, and consumers are also required to avoid getting too close to on-duty bus drivers, firefighters, police officers, and correctional officers. Therefore, most local residents and visitors seek out cannabis businesses that allow consumption on site.

Illinois marijuana taxes

All cannabis products with less than 35% THC are hit with 10% sales tax, while those that reach higher are subject to a staggeringly high 25% tax. This is in addition to a 7% gross receipts tax, so don’t forget to take this into account when you’re shopping at Illinois dispensaries.

Driving under the influence of cannabis

Some of this state’s marijuana laws are unique but one remains consistent with other legal regions. Driving while under the influence of cannabis is treated just like alcohol in Illinois, so it’s best to take a bus, ride a bike, or charter a taxi to get home after getting high.

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