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Recreational Cannabis Information

Recreational Cannabis Information

On January 1, 2020 it became legal for adults over the age of 21 to purchase, possess, and consume cannabis (aka marijuana) for recreational purposes. The City of Highland Park has prepared a frequently asked questions video to help residents and businesses understand the laws pertaining to recreational cannabis. The video can be viewed at the following YouTube link: https://youtu.be/6blRtIOI4A0

The State of Illinois has developed a website, LetsTalkCannabisIL.com, to provide resources and information to Illinois residents about health and safety issues related to legal cannabis use. The website also provides fact sheets that users can download and share.
 
For additional questions pertaining to recreational cannabis, please view the City’s Cannabis FAQ below or contact the Police Non-Emergency number at 847.432.7730.

Can a recreational cannabis business be located in Highland Park?
Following several public meetings throughout 2019, the majority of City Council members decided to prohibit “adult use” or recreational cannabis businesses from locating in Highland Park until further information about the impact of legalization becomes available. The City Council may revisit this decision in the future, but any change would require a series of public meetings and hearings.

How much cannabis may an Illinois resident legally possess under the new law?
Illinois residents over the age of 21 can legally possess any combination of the following:

  • 30 grams of raw cannabis;
  • Cannabis-infused product or products containing a total of no more than 500 mg of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC);
  • 5 grams of cannabis product in concentrated form.

In addition, Illinois residents who are registered as qualifying patients under the state’s medical cannabis program are allowed to possess and cultivate up to 5 cannabis plants and the cannabis produced from those 5 plants in their homes.  All “home grown” cannabis plants and cannabis must be secured within the residence or dwelling unit and kept out of sight from the general public.  

How much cannabis may a non-resident of the State of Illinois legally possess under the new law?
Non-residents over the age of 21 can legally possess any combination of the following:

  • 15 grams of raw cannabis;
  • Cannabis-infused products or products containing a total of no more than 250 mg of THC;
  • 2.5 grams of cannabis product in concentrated form.

 A non-resident may not possess cannabis plants.

Where is a person prohibited from possessing cannabis?
Possession of cannabis is prohibited in the following places:

  • On a school bus.
  • On the grounds of any preschool, primary or secondary school unless approved as a medical cannabis patient.
  • In a private vehicle unless the cannabis is in a reasonably secured, sealed, tamper-evident container and reasonably inaccessible while the vehicle is moving.
  • In a private residence that is used at any time to provide licensed child care or other similar social service care on the premises.

Where is the use of cannabis prohibited?
Use of cannabis is prohibited in the following places: 

  • On a school bus.
  • On the grounds of any preschool, primary or secondary school unless authorized in the medical cannabis program.
  • In any correctional facility.
  • In any motor vehicle.
  • In a private residence that is used at any time to provide licensed child care or other similar social service care on the premises.
  • In any public place or knowingly in close physical proximity to anyone under 21 years of age.
  • In any public place where a person could reasonably be expected to be observed by others.
  • In any location where smoking is prohibited by the Smoke Free Illinois Act (410 ILCS 82/1 et seq.), including hospitals, restaurants, retail stores, offices, commercial establishments, etc.
  • Universities, colleges, and other post-secondary educational institutions may restrict or prohibit cannabis use on their property.

What should I do if I witness my neighbor smoking cannabis on their property or if I smell cannabis from their property?
Cannabis use is not prohibited on private residential property unless the private residential property is used as a child care facility or another similar social service site.

Check with your property owner or homeowners’ association for any additional restrictions and please be considerate of your friends and neighbors who choose not to partake.  If you have further questions about use and possession, or if you wish to report a prohibited use violation, please call the Highland Park Police Department at 847.432.7730.

How is a “public place” defined under the Act?
A “public place” is defined as any place where a person could reasonably be expected to be observed by others. It includes all parts of buildings owned in whole or in part, or leased, by the state or a unit of local government. A “public place” does not include a private residence, unless the private residence is used to provide licensed child care, foster care or other similar social service care on the premises.

Are there certain specific activities that an individual may not perform while using cannabis?

  • Operating, navigating or being in actual physical control of any motor vehicle, aircraft or motorboat while using or under the influence of cannabis. Driving under the influence and reckless driving due to THC impairment is still illegal.
  • Use of cannabis by a law enforcement officer, corrections officer, probation officer or firefighter while on duty or on-call.[WSJ(-X1] [NG2] 
  • Use of cannabis by a person who has a school bus driver’s permit or a Commercial Driver's License (CDL) while on duty.

Note:   Employers may adopt reasonable zero tolerance or drug free workplace policies, or employment policies concerning drug testing, smoking, consumption, storage, or use of cannabis in the workplace or while on call provided that the policy is applied in a nondiscriminatory manner.

How will DUI’s be addressed under the new law?

  • Driving under the influence of cannabis will continue to be illegal.
    • The law allows for use of validated roadside chemical tests or standardized field sobriety tests approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration when conducting investigations of a violation of Section 11-501 of the Illinois Motor Vehicle Code (625 ILCS 5/11-501) or a similar local ordinance by drivers suspected of driving under the influence of cannabis.
    • The results of validated roadside chemical tests and standardized field sobriety tests are, under the Act, admissible at a civil or criminal trial or proceeding for an arrest for a cannabis-related offense as defined in Section 11-501 of the Illinois Motor Vehicle Code or a similar local ordinance.
    • A State of Illinois DUI Cannabis Task Force has been created with the legalization of recreational cannabis to examine best practices for enforcement of driving under the influence of cannabis laws and emerging technology in roadside testing for impairment.
      • The Illinois Vehicle Code presumes a driver is impaired if they have Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of 5 nanograms or more in whole blood or 10 nanograms or more in another bodily substance.
      • Lesser concentrations of THC does not give rise to a presumption that a driver is under the influence of cannabis, but may be considered with other competent evidence of impairment.
  • The refusal to submit to a chemical test will result in the imposition of driver's license sanctions under Section 11-501.1 of the Illinois Motor Vehicle Code.
  • The refusal to take validated roadside chemical tests or standardized field sobriety tests is admissible in any civil or criminal action or proceeding regarding impairment by the use of cannabis.
  • An authorized medical cannabis patient who drives is deemed to have given consent to (i) validated roadside chemical tests or (ii) standardized field sobriety tests.
  • Law enforcement officers must have an independent, cannabis-related factual basis giving reasonable suspicion that a person is driving or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while impaired by the use of cannabis to conduct validated roadside chemical tests or standardized field sobriety tests.

Can a landlord prohibit the smoking of cannabis on their property?
Yes. An owner or lessor of residential property can prohibit the smoking of cannabis within their residential property.  Residents of federally subsidized public housing are prohibited from possessing or consuming cannabis in any form.

Home Cultivation or “Home Grow”
What are the limitations and requirements to grow cannabis at home?
Only registered medical cannabis patients over 21 years of age may participate in home cultivation.  Additionally, cultivation in private residences by medical cannabis patients is subject to the following limitations: 

  • There is a limit of five plants that are five inches or more per household without a cultivation center or craft grower license;
  • Cannabis plants may not be cultivated in an area subject to public view;
  • Reasonable precautions must ensure that the plants are secure from unauthorized access or access by a person under 21 years of age;
  • Cannabis cultivation must occur in an enclosed locked space;
  • Cannabis cultivation may only occur on residential property lawfully in possession of the medical cannabis patient or with the consent of the person in lawful possession of the property;
  • A medical cannabis patient may allow their authorized agent to tend to the plants for brief periods of time if the patient is temporarily away;
  • A medical cannabis patient may only purchase cannabis seed from a dispensary;
  • Purchase of live plant material is prohibited; and
  • If the home grown plants yield more than the allowable possession limit of 30 grams of raw cannabis, then the excess cannabis must remain secured within the residence of residential property in which it was grown.

May a landlord prohibit the growth of cannabis on their property?
Yes. An owner or lessor of residential property may prohibit the cultivation of cannabis by a lessee.

Expungements
What records will be automatically expunged?
The law mandates that arrest records relating to offenses under the Illinois Cannabis Control Act for possession of under 30 grams of any substance containing cannabis that are not associated with an arrest, conviction or other disposition of a violent crime as defined in subsection (c) of Section 3 of the Illinois Rights of Crime Victims and Witnesses Act. “Minor Cannabis Offenses” will be automatically expunged by all law enforcement agencies, including records of an arrest, charges not initiated by arrest, orders of supervision or orders of qualified probation for all offenses committed prior to the Act if:

  • One year or more has elapsed since the date of the arrest or law enforcement interaction documented in the records; and no criminal charges were filed or if filed they were dismissed and/or arrestee was acquitted.

What is the schedule for automatic expungement?
The law provides that all law enforcement agencies must expunge qualifying records according to the following schedule:

  • Records created prior to the effective date of the Act, but on or after January 1, 2013, shall be automatically expunged prior to January 1, 2021;
  • Records created prior to January 1, 2013, but on or after January 1, 2000, shall be automatically expunged prior to January 1, 2023; and
  • Records created prior to January 1, 2000, shall be automatically expunged prior to January 1, 2025.

What is the process for expungement for offenders actually convicted of Minor Cannabis Offenses or of more serious violations under the Cannabis Control Act?

  • Within 180 days of the effective date of the Act, the Illinois State Police must notify the Prisoner Review Board of those convictions for Minor Cannabis Offenses that are eligible for expungement under the Act.
  • The Act provides a process for the Prisoner Review Board to make recommendations to the Governor for pardons for certain convictions for Minor Cannabis Offenses.
  • Those convicted for more serious violations of the Cannabis Control Act and not qualifying for a pardon have the option of petitioning for expungement through the circuit court.

How does an agency respond to a request for records that have been expunged?
In response to an inquiry for expunged records, the law enforcement agency receiving such inquiry shall reply as it does in response to inquiries when no records ever existed; however, it shall provide a certificate of disposition or confirmation that the record was expunged to the individual whose record was expunged if such a record exists.

Health and Safety
The following information from the Lake County Health Department and Community Health Center provides health and safety tips regarding cannabis.

For Young Adults Under 21 Years of Age:
You must be 21 to buy, use, possess or transport cannabis. Your brain continues to develop until age 25 and studies from the National Insitute on Drug Abuse for Teens have shown that cannabis use in young people can:

  • impair brain development
  • increase difficulty in staying focused
  • increase the risk of addiction
  • increase the risk of mental health issues
  • cause hallucinations, delusions, or paranoia
For Adults Over the Age of 21:
  • Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, more commonly known as THC, is the psychoactive component in cannabis; the component that makes users feel “high.”
    • THC impacts normal brain function and development, even in adults. Cannabis use can lead to addiction. Research suggests that the earlier in life you begin, the greater the risk for addiction.
    • In addition to the effects listed above for persons under 21, these effects can be greater when combined with alcohol or other drug use.
  • Cannabis affects everyone differently.
    • The THC component of today’s cannabis is three times what it was 25 years ago (Elsohly, M.A., Mehmedic, Z., Foster, S. (2016). Changes in Cannabis Potency Over the Last 2 Decades (1995-2014): Analysis of Current Data in the United States. Biological Psychiatry, 79(7), 613-619). 
    • Know your dose (particularly with edibles). How you consume cannabis can affect the severity and duration of its effects.
    • Over-consumption can result in:
      • Hallucinations
      • Paranoia
      • Increased heart rate
      • Confusion
      • Poor judgment
      • Panic attacks
      • Nausea and vomiting
    • The CDC has recommended that people refrain from vaping any products containing THC and buying vaping products off the street, due to the outbreak of over 2,000 vaping-related lung injuries and over 35 deaths.
  • Don’t drive while high.
    • Driving under the influence of cannabis is still illegal. If you or someone you’re with has been using, take public transportation, a ride-share or call a sober friend to drive.
    • Having an open container of cannabis in a vehicle is illegal, even if you’re a passenger.
  • Don’t consume cannabis if pregnant or breastfeeding.
    • There is no safe amount of cannabis while pregnant or breastfeeding, regardless of how you consume it.
    • THC can be transferred to your baby through your placenta or your breast milk.
    • Cannabis use during pregnancy is linked to low birth weight babies, which carries several health risks according to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.
    • If you are a current medical cannabis user or need assistance addressing morning sickness, call your medical provider.
  • Safe storage- Keep cannabis in a child-resistant container, inside of a locked box or safe.

Who should be contacted to file a complaint about a cannabis business establishment?
To file a complaint about a cannabis business establishment, please contact the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (“IDFPR”). IDFPR may be reached by calling 1-888-473-4858.