With 2019 winding down, anticipation for the legalization of recreational marijuana in Illinois is starting to increase. However, the legalization comes with exceptions and is anticipated to face challenges when it comes to enforcement.
The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act legalizes the sale, regulation and consumption of cannabis in Illinois, the 11th state to do so. The law will go into effect when midnight strikes on New Year’s Day 2020.
As a state regulation, the act complies with the federal Drug-Free School and Communities Act which prohibits the possession and consumption of any drugs on a college campus, Bradley included. Marijuana is still listed as a schedule one drug. With those laws in place, cannabis still won’t be allowed on campus.
You will also need to be at least 21 to process or use recreational marijuana. If you are off-campus, it is up to your landlord to decide if you can use marijuana within the space or unit. Consult with them and include it in your lease or housing agreement.
When it comes to possession, residents of Illinois are allowed to carry up to 30 grams of cannabis flower, or up to 500 milligrams of THC–the psychoactive component that causes a “high”–in cannabis-infused products. Some of these products include oils, chocolate or gummies. If it’s cannabis concentrate, five grams is the limit.
As for non-residents, the limit for these quantities is halved. Carrying any amount over these limits is a violation and can result in penalties.
When it comes to enforcement of the law, it will be similar to the enforcement against alcoholic beverages but with some additional challenges.
Besides underage consumption, cannabis products are, in general, easier to conceal than alcohol. With the popularity of concentrated oil and vaporizing products, it will be hard for the law enforcement to determine, without special equipment, if the oil is nicotine concentrate, THC concentrate or just flavored oil.
As cannabis is bound to become more popular over the next few years, it’s important for students to be responsible when using it. Do not consume it to the point of impairment.
When smoking the drug in a legal and private space, please be considerate of other people, especially if you live in an apartment complex. The smoke can leave a smell that some may consider bothersome.
Cannabis can bring a positive impact to the state of Illinois, generating revenue from taxes for education and increasing the effort to stop more violent and serious crimes, as the bill proposes.
If the rules are followed and information is spread to everyone, the consumption and beneficial use of cannabis can be enjoyed to the fullest by anyone in a safe and legal manner.