Champaign Attorneys for Marijuana Possession for Parkinson’s Disease
In Illinois, there are two reasons that individuals may legally purchase marijuana: (1) for medical purposes and (2) for recreational use. The limitations vary depending on the reason the marijuana is purchased and possessed. While Illinois allows the legal purchase of marijuana for recreational use, marijuana possession outside the restrictions is still a serious crime that can lead to severe criminal penalties.
Studies suggest that marijuana use can help ease the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. If you were arrested for or charged with marijuana possession but use it as a medication for Parkinson’s Disease, an experienced Champaign marijuana possession attorney from Bruno Law Offices could fight for your best interests. Contact us today at (217) 328-6000 to learn about your options.
Restrictions for Recreational Use of Marijuana
On January 1, 2020, Illinois legalized marijuana for recreational use under the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (the “Recreational Marijuana Act”), which provides strict regulations for the possession, purchase, and consumption of cannabis. For example, an individual must be at least 21 years old to possess marijuana for recreational purposes, and there are limitations on the amount of cannabis and THC that may be in a legal purchaser’s possession. For Illinois residents, those limits are:
- Cannabis flower – 30 grams
- Cannabis concentrate (oils, dab, or kief) – 5 grams
- THC within cannabis products – 500 milligrams
If you are under 21 and are found with any amount of cannabis without a valid medical card, you can face severe criminal penalties for marijuana possession.
Marijuana Possession for Medical Reasons
On January 1, 2014, Illinois legalized marijuana possession and use for medical purposes under the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act (the “Medical Cannabis Act”). Under the Medical Cannabis Act, a patient diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition can likely apply for an Illinois medical marijuana card. Unlike the Recreational Marijuana Act, those who obtain a medical marijuana card can possess marijuana as minors.
If someone is under 18 and dealing with a qualifying medical disease, such as Parkinson’s disease, they can possess cannabis, so long as they have a designated caregiver who is at least 21 years of age and agrees to assist the minor in their use of cannabis for medical purposes. Possessing over 2.5 ounces, even with an Illinois medical marijuana card, is still illegal and can result in severe marijuana possession penalties.
Qualifying for a Medical Marijuana Card in Illinois
In Illinois, an individual will only qualify for a medical marijuana card if they have a qualifying condition or are terminally ill, receive written documentation of the diagnosis from their doctor, submit a medical marijuana card application to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), and pay the application fee, which ranges from $25.00 to $350.00, depending upon the circumstances. Under the Medical Cannabis Act, the fee shall be waived for those applying for the card when they are terminally ill.
In Illinois, Parkinson’s disease is a qualifying medical condition. As a result, if you have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and believe medical marijuana will help with your symptoms, you can request a certification of your medical condition from a certifying healthcare provider once every three years or upon expiration of the medical card. For the certification to be valid, a healthcare provider must:
- Have a bonafide health care provider-patient relationship that is not limited to the issuance of the certification.
- Have responsibility for the ongoing care and treatment of the patient’s condition that is not limited to the issuance of the certification.
- Complete an in-person assessment of the patient’s medical history and condition before completion of the certification.
- Certify that the patient is under the health care provider’s care, either as their primary caregiver or for the specific medical condition.
The Benefits of Marijuana for Treating Parkinson’s Disease
There is still a lot of research required to determine the long-term benefits and effects of marijuana as a treatment for Parkinson’s disease, but there have been some positive results. Cannabis seems to help with managing neurological and non-neurological symptoms and conditions, such as anxiety, pain, weight loss, and nausea.
Currently, there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, and the horrific symptoms will continue to worsen as the disease progresses. However, the use of medical marijuana may ease those symptoms. If you have found relief using marijuana in connection with Parkinson’s disease, it is understandable that you would be in possession of marijuana.
Penalties for Marijuana Possession in Illinois
If you are convicted of marijuana possession, you can face severe criminal penalties. The penalties depend on the amount of marijuana possessed and the circumstances in which the marijuana is possessed. For example, an individual cannot possess more than 30 grams if they do not have a medical marijuana card, but if they have a medical marijuana card, they can possess up to 2.5 ounces (approximately 70 ounces) without facing penalties.
The penalties for Illinois residents who are found in possession of marijuana are as follows:
- 30 – 100g (first offense): Class A misdemeanor, up to one year in prison and up to $2,500 in fines
- 30 – 100g (subsequent offenses): Class 4 felony, one to three years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines
- 101 – 500g: Class 4 felony, one to three years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines
- 501 – 2000g: Class 3 felony, two to five years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines
- 2001 – 5000g: Class 2 felony, three to seven years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines
- More than 5000g: Class 2 felony, four to fifteen years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines
Knowingly lying to the police about having a medical marijuana card to avoid arrest or prosecution can result in an additional fine of $1,000.
Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney
Being arrested for or charged with marijuana possession can be devastating and severely impact your life. The attorneys at Bruno Law Offices are willing to work to defend your best interests.
If you are battling Parkinson’s disease and using marijuana as a treatment, our experienced criminal defense attorneys might be able to get the charges reduced or dismissed. Call us at (217) 328-6000 for a consultation with one of our skilled and knowledgeable marijuana possession attorneys.