As initially approved by the legislature in May, HB 218 reduces personal use possession penalties (up to 15 grams) from a Class A criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to 6 months in jail, a $1,500 fine, and a criminal record, to a petty offense, punishable by a fine only (up to $125.00) - no arrest, and no criminal record. Governor Rauner's amendatory veto seeks to decrease the proposed possession limits from 15 grams of marijuana to 10 grams, while also seeking to raise fines to $200.00.
Governor Rauner also seeks to lower the state's proposed per se THC/blood limit from 15ng/ml to 5ng/ml. Under present Illinois law, drivers with any detectable amount of THC in their blood are in violation of the state's traffic safety laws.
If a majority of lawmakers fail to approve the Governor's amendments, the measure will be dead for this year's legislative session. Under state rules, a vote of 60 percent by both legislative chambers is necessary in order to override an amendatory veto.
To date, 20 states and Washington, DC have passed legislation eliminating the threat of incarceration for marijuana possession offenses via either legalization or decriminalization.
For more information, please contact Illinois NORML or Danielle Keane, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500.