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Senate passes measure to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana

decrim-marijuanaPossession of small amounts of cannabis, 15 grams or less, would be punishable by fines of no more than $125 under a proposed law the Illinois Senate sent to the governor’s desk today.

“There has been much talk this year about criminal justice reform and being smarter on crime,” said Senator Michael Noland (D-Elgin), the proposal’s Senate sponsor. “With this measure the Senate and House take an important step in the right direction. The benefits we will see from this plan are innumerable. Today, we become smarter on enforcement of the law while saving judicial resources.”

The proposal also establishes a limit for driving while under the influence of cannabis. This limit can be tested through blood or through saliva, making Illinois one of the first states for oral fluid testing of THC. 

“Illinois has allowed the use of medical marijuana and we need to become prepared for what happens when people actually abuse that law and start driving under the influence. Now is the perfect time,” said Noland.

HB 218 passed the House with a vote of 62-53 and the Senate with a vote of 37-19 and will be sent to the governor for consideration.

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