After working with legislators over the last year, Governor Rauner has finally signed legislation this week that decriminalizes small amounts of marijuana, allowing Illinois adults caught with 10 grams or less to be issued a fine up to $200 instead of jail time. The legislation also defines a standard of intoxication for drivers at 5 nanograms of THC, following several other states despite the lengthy time cannabis can stay in someone's system after impairment. According to the law, citation records will also be thrown out every six months unless local government decides against it. Decriminalizing marijuana not only gives smokers a peace of mind, but it takes an unnecessary burden off of the local law enforcement and legal system.
The new law, which takes effect immediately, makes having 10 grams or less of marijuana will be a civil offense, punishable with a fine of up to $200. The Republican governor had been expected to sign the bill because it included language he requested after vetoing similar legislation last year. In his message to lawmakers at the time, Rauner said that existing penalties for petty marijuana offenses were too severe and that "criminal prosecution of cannabis possession is also a drain on public resources."