Cannabis Law in Illinois: Last-Minute Votes and Rulings

Dec 13, 2019

picture to accompany article about Illinois cannabis legalization legalities Recreational adult-use cannabis becomes legal in Illinois on January 1, 2020. In these final days before shops open to the over-21 public, some communities are making last-minute legal decisions.

Loves Park Doesn’t Want Weed Revenue

Outside of Rockford, there’s a city called Loves Park that hates weed. Well, hate is probably too strong, but the city’s legislator voted 7 to 3 to ban the sale of recreational cannabis. The city’s alderman, Mark Peterson, explained: “There’s a long list of where recreational cannabis has been a social problem.”

Authorities will allow residents, however, to use marijuana in the privacy of their own homes.

Evanston Votes for Marijuana-Supported Reparations

At the end of November, the Evanston City Council voted to direct marijuana tax dollars to a local reparations program. They haven’t ironed out the details. However, the council hopes the new program will make amends to “residents who were harmed by discriminatory housing and other past policies” and communities disproportionately affected by past cannabis policing.

Decatur City Is Changing Its Cannabis-Related Police Polices

Decatur City already voted to ban cannabis dispensaries within the city. However the city council recently decided that residents aged 21 and over can possess and consume up to one ounce of marijuana. Smoking in “public places,” however, is still off-limits. Additionally, the city’s police chief assured that his “officers aren’t going to be out arresting everybody for a single piece of pipe paraphernalia. If that pipe is not possessed with an illegal amount of cannabis or another illegal drug, then we are not messing with it.”

Peoria Welcomes the Weed Industry

Unlike Loves Park and Decatur, Peoria is open to recreational marijuana stores. An already licensed marijuana dealer is looking to open two stores within the city limit and estimates 200 customers a day. Peoria, undoubtedly, is eager to fill its coffers with cannabis tax dollars.

Balcony Smoking in Chicago is a Go

Earlier this year, police warned that people smoking outside in Chicago — even on balconies and in yards — could face fines. Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Charlie Beck, the interim police superintendent, reversed that warning and assured residents that people smoking in backyards or balconies wouldn’t be arrested or fined.

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