FAQs About Recreational Marijuana in Illinois

Posted by Moe Ahmad | Jan 16, 2020 | 0 Comments

On January 1, 2020, legal recreational marijuana in Illinois became available for purchase to residents and visitors. Illinois is the 11th state to legalize recreational cannabis for adult use.

The following are the most frequently asked questions regarding the new law:

Question: Who can buy recreational cannabis in the state?

Answer: Anyone who is at least 21 years of age can legally purchase recreational marijuana from a dispensary.

Q: Where can I buy it?

A: Recreational pot is sold from state-approved dispensaries. As of January 2020, there are 37 dispensaries in Illinois that offer recreational sales.

24 dispensaries are in Chicago or within the city area. There is one dispensary in the St. Louis metro area, the Quad Cities, Effingham, Carbondale, Ottawa, Rockford, and Quincy.

On the state's website (, you can find the full list of all the current licensed dispensaries throughout Illinois.

Q: What must I bring to a dispensary?

A: You need to bring a valid government-issued ID that contains your birth date and home address. IDs will be scanned upon arrival to ensure legitimacy, not for record-keeping purposes. Regarding medical marijuana patients, they must still bring their program registry ID card.

Since many dispensaries do not accept credit/debit cards yet, bring cash. However, most dispensaries will have ATMs inside.

Q: How much can I possess?

A: State residents can legally carry up to 30 grams—a little more than an ounce—of cannabis flower. As far as concentrates are concerned, they can only possess up to five grams. The limit for edibles, tinctures, and other cannabis-infused products is 500 milligrams of THC, which is the psychoactive ingredient that produces “the high.”

Visitors of Illinois can possess half of the amounts mentioned above.

Q: Where can I legally smoke or consume recreational cannabis?

A: You can only use pot in your own home and sometimes one-site in some marijuana-related businesses. On the other hand, you cannot smoke or consume it in public, inside a motor vehicle, on school ground (unless you are a medical marijuana patient), near anyone under 21 years old, and near an on-duty, police officer, corrections officer, firefighter, or school bus driver.

Any landlord, business, or person can restrict marijuana use on private property. State colleges can also ban such use.

Q: Can I grow cannabis?

A: Only medical marijuana patients can grow up to five plants at a time. By contrast, recreational cannabis users are prohibited from growing at home. Growing up to five plants is punishable by a maximum $200 fine.

Q: Can I drive under the influence of recreational marijuana?

A: You can get a DUI for driving with a THC blood concentration of at least five nanograms.

Q: What happens to the criminal records of those who were convicted of marijuana possession?

A: If you or a loved one has previously been convicted of possession of under 30 grams of cannabis before legalization, your record will be referred to the Illinois Prisoner Review Board and then to Governor J. B Pritzker for a pardon. If a pardon is granted, the state attorney general will then expunge your record.

Individuals convicted of possession between 30 to 500 grams can seek expungement on their own.

For more information about drug crimes and marijuana crimes in Chicago, contact Ahmad Law Firm today at (847) 791-2294 and schedule a free consultation.

About the Author

Moe Ahmad

Attorney Mohammad (Moe) Ahmad received his Juris Doctor Degree from Western Michigan University, Cooley Law School. As a skilled trial lawyer and former prosecutor of the...


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