Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a bill into law Friday that removes criminal penalties for possession of a personal amount of marijuana and replaces them with a civil fine. The new law is effective immediately.
A bill introduced by state Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago), makes possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana a civil violation punishable by a fine of $100-$200. The bill ensures adults no longer face time in jail, and the civil offense will be automatically expunged in order to prevent a permanent criminal record.
Previously in Illinois, possession of up to 2.5 grams of marijuana was a class C misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,500; possession of 2.5-10 grams was a class B misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,500. More than 100 Illinois communities had already removed local criminal penalties for simple marijuana possession.
Illinois is now the 21st state in the nation, in addition to the District of Columbia, to remove the threat of jail time for simple marijuana possession.