Aug 15, 2016 9:05 AM

Illinois Officially Decriminalizes Pot

A small amount of weed is no longer the reason for being imprisoned for the Illinois residents. Illinois has officially become the twenty-first state to decriminalize weed possession. Now, the citizens will be able to pay a small fine instead of dealing with courts, lawyers, or jail sentences.

Following similar laws of the twenty other states, like Ohio, Delaware, and Vermont, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed the new measure into law. The legislation punishes pot possession like a traffic violation.

Before that, possessing 10 grams or less of marijuana was punishable by up to 6 months in prison along with a fine of $1,500. The new regulation has significantly changed these rules, replacing the punishment with a small fine of $100-$200 with no threat of being imprisoned.

Although the regulation may seem too stringent, let us consider the alternative. The previous punishment was much more serious. Moreover, the violators lost large sums of money while staying in jail and facing a range of difficulties in finding a job after being released. An average traffic violation costs drivers about $150-$300, making the fine for weed possession seem even tinier.

Chicago was more progressive than its state four years ago, when it decided to decriminalize marijuana without the approval from all of Illinois. Chris Lindsey, senior legislative counsel for the Marijuana Policy Project, expressed his gratitude for the new measure to the officials who signed it into law. The legislation will prevent hundreds of citizens from having their lives turned upside down by a weed possession arrest.

However, in places like Chicago, where decriminalization regulations already existed, the reduced fines will not apply.
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