August 10th, 2016 | Sterling

Illinois Decriminalizes Small Amounts of Marijuana Possession

Illinois Decriminalizes Small Amounts of Marijuana Possession

When it comes to the legalization of marijuana in the US, each state handles it differently. The laws governing the use of cannabis and their enforcement can vary largely depending upon the new regulations, bills, policies and laws that are put into place.

Generally speaking, there are four main categories into where a state can fall when it comes to its relationship with marijuana use:

  • Criminal Offense – The use of marijuana for anyone is not permitted and is a criminal offense.
  • Medical – Marijuana is allowed only for medicinal purposes.
  • Decriminalized – Marijuana use, although illegal, is not a criminal offense.
  • Recreational – The use of marijuana for recreation is permitted.

In a recent bill that was signed into law, the state of Illinois has decriminalized marijuana. According to an article posted in the Chicago Tribune, “…under the new law those caught with up to 10 grams of marijuana will face fines of $100 to $200. Individual municipalities could add to the fines and implement other penalties, such as requiring offenders to attend drug treatment.”

The article goes on to state that, “the law also would loosen the state’s zero-tolerance policy for driving under the influence. Before, a driver could be charged if any trace of marijuana was detected, even if it was ingested weeks before and the driver showed no signs of impairment.” However, “under the new law, drivers won’t be charged with DUI unless they have 5 nanograms or more of THC in their blood, or 10 nanograms or more of THC in their saliva.”

When it comes to background screening, this is big news. What was once an arrest because of illegal substance possession has now been turned into a nothing more than a fine, so long as the offense falls within the established laws and regulations. With more and more states continuing to decriminalize marijuana, it’s crucial that you’re at the top of your game – particularly when it comes to aligning the applicant’s background screening results to the responsibilities of the job.

Just as states are continuing to review their laws surrounding the legalization of marijuana, we think it’s crucial that you are regularly reviewing your company’s drug testing policy.

For more information on understanding what drug legalization and decriminalization means to your company, you can download our white paper here. We’re here to help.

This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.