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Archive for the ‘Illinois medical marijuana law’ Category

Practical Aspects of Medical Marijuana Law Remain a Challenge

June 24th, 2015 at 4:38 pm

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, Illinois drug crimes attorney,In Illinois and in other states around the country, marijuana has being legalized for certain limited purposes, usually for medicinal use when certain requirements are met. The medical marijuana law was passed in January of 2014 in Illinois, but the state has run into several issues in implementing it. One of the most recent hurdles to overcome in the process of establishing medical marijuana dispensaries involves determining from what sources to obtain the seeds necessary to plant the drug.

Getting Started

Those who are interested in getting into the business of legally selling medical marijuana must overcome several hurdles in order to do so. Many requirements and regulations are written into the relevant law, including obtaining licenses, planning for security, and planning for building the facility. Once that is accomplished, growers must then decide where to obtain their first seeds or cuttings, which would enable them to actually grow marijuana for medicinal purposes. Some are arguing that this presents a challenge for legal reasons.

With the medical marijuana industry just emerging in Illinois, sellers and growers have many logistical issues to take into account. When it comes to actually growing the marijuana to be used for medical purposes, the medical marijuana law is reportedly not clear on how to actually begin the process. Some say that regulators are essentially supposed to look the other way at this stage, but the problem is widespread.

“First Seed” Problem

Those getting involved in the industry are considering the problem an odd, albeit likely unintended, consequence of the law. Still, it leaves growers with two options: go underground or travel to another state to obtain seeds, although either action would most likely be a violation of law, either on the state or federal level. Growing permits are expected to be issued in Illinois by the end of the year. At this point, it seems growers will be faced with either obtaining seeds on the black market or possibly ordering them online from companies who advertise discreet shipping practices. The question remains, what legal effect will this have on growers?

Some are supposedly expecting law enforcement to simply turn a blind eye for a limited “don’t ask, don’t tell” period of time. This is usually the case in states where the relevant medical marijuana law is silent on the issue of obtaining seeds, after which the plants are generally required to be registered. In Illinois, officials seemed to offer vague responses when asked directly about the issue, and suggested they would be open to considering plan proposals from applicants on how to get their operation started. However, many maintain that until there is a definitive, government approved guideline on the issue, states will have no choice but to look the other way.

Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or someone you know has been charged with a drug crime in the Chicago area, do not hesitate to contact the experienced Rolling Meadows defense attorneys at the Law Office of Christopher M. Cosley to schedule a consultation. We have offices located in Rolling Meadows and Chicago.

Different DUI Standards for Medical Marijuana Patients

May 13th, 2015 at 11:56 am

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, drug crimes, Illinios drug laws, Illinois is slowly limping into the age of medical marijuana. While getting the system up and running is taking some time, there are some very good things in the state’s medical marijuana laws. One of those good things has to do with how medical marijuana patients will be treated when it comes to DUI charges.

Illinois DUI Marijuana Charges for Non-Medical Marijuana Users

People who choose to use marijuana in Illinois without the protections that are afforded to medical marijuana users run serious risks if they are ever pulled over on suspicion of a DUI. Under Illinois statute, a person can be found guilty of DUI if he or she drives or is in actual physical control of a vehicle while there is any amount of a drug, substance, or compound in his or her blood, breath, or urine resulting from the unlawful use or consumption of cannabis. Now, as most marijuana users are aware, certain metabolites of marijuana can remain in a person’s system for days or even weeks after the drug has been used and the effects of the drug have worn off. This means that technically a person who uses non-medical marijuana in Illinois and then drives two or three weeks later can be prosecuted for driving under the influence of drugs, even though all of the science indicates that the marijuana would be having no effect on the person’s driving at that time.

Illinois DUI Marijuana Charges for Medical Marijuana Patients

Fortunately, medical marijuana patients will be treated differently. The Illinois law that deals with this particular type of DUI specifically exempts people who are patients licensed under the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program. This does not mean, however, that medical marijuana patients will be allowed to drive while high. A different part of the DUI statute makes it a crime to drive while under the influence of any drug or combination of drugs to a degree that the person is rendered incapable of safe driving. So a urine test showing marijuana metabolites will not be enough to convict a person of DUI, but evidence of marijuana intoxication at the time of driving will suffice. One way the State may try to prove intoxication in these cases is through the use of drug recognition experts, or DREs. You may be aware of the standard field sobriety tests that cops perform on suspected drunk drivers. DREs are law enforcement officers who have been trained to administer a longer battery of tests that allegedly indicate whether someone has been using a drug other than alcohol, and if so, what type of drug they have been using.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

If you have been charged with a DUI, you need the help of an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney. Christopher Cosley has spent his career defending the rights of people like you. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M . Cosley at (847)394-3200.

Congress Says No Funds to go to Medical Marijuana Prosecutions

December 30th, 2014 at 8:18 am

drug possession, Illinois drug crimes attorney, drug dealing, Illinois defense lawyer,After generations of taking a hardline stance on the War on Drugs, Congress finally effectively ended the federal government’s ban on medical marijuana, at least for now. This extraordinary news can provide comfort for those involved in Illinois’ medical marijuana program. Rather than facing potential federal drug charges, nationwide users, growers, and sellers who comply with state laws regulating medical marijuana will finally be able to relax when it comes to the fear of federal prosecution.

Congress Cuts Funding for Medical Marijuana Prosecutions

While Congress did not actually “legalize” medical marijuana on a federal level, it did the next best thing. The Los Angeles Times reports that Congress included language in its massive spending bill that cut funding for prosecuting these crimes. So while operating a medical marijuana dispensary is still technically a violation of federal law, federal agents and prosecutors will not be able to prosecute these crimes because they will not have the money to do so, so long as the so-called criminal is complying with state laws regarding medical marijuana. Congress’ action comes on the coattails of the Obama administration’s efforts to follow a similar policy over the last year, but Congress’ action is the first time that the federal government has actually codified any type of decriminalization of marijuana since criminalizing it in the first place.

What this Means for Illinois Medical Marijuana

It is a little unclear whether Congress’ action will have any immediate practical effect in Illinois. This is because while our legislature has authorized the use of medical marijuana, we currently don’t have any legally authorized medical marijuana dispensaries. Illinois is preparing to authorize the first dispensaries, and state officials are expected to announce who will receive the first licenses in the state to sell medical marijuana some time before the end of the year. Ultimately there will be 21 grow centers and 60 dispensaries spread across the states. Once these businesses are actually licensed and up and running, they will have a much easier road than dispensaries in other states like California faced when they opened for business only to be subjected to raids by the FBI and DEA. But until these businesses actually are up and running, there will be no one lawfully dispensing medical marijuana under Illinois law, so the new federal law will have no effect here.

Criminal Defense Attorney

If you find yourself accused of a drug crime you will need the assistance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Contact the experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley and schedule a consultation today.

Medical Marijuana Legal, but Not Available in Illinois

June 3rd, 2014 at 7:00 am

Cook County criminal defense lawyer, drug crimes, for medicinal use, Illinois criminal law, Illinois medical marijuana, marijuana dispensaries, Medical marijuanaOne of the many recent and significant changes to the criminal laws in the state of Illinois involved legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes. At the time, many saw this as an important step in Illinois criminal law. However, months after the law was enacted, ABC Local reported that the law may not have any real effect on the public in the timeframe originally expected.

Availability of Medical Marijuana

A signed bill legalized medical marijuana in Illinois nine months ago. At that time, the plan was to make medical marijuana available to eligible patients beginning in the fall of 2014. Since then, there has been one of two planned public hearings to discuss rule proposals. That hearing made clear that the original timeframe by which to have the substance available is not realistic.

Objections to Proposed Rules

Advocates of the law pointed out numerous flaws to the hundreds of pages of rules proposed by state departments. One rule will require qualifying patients to purchase a $100 patient card and submit to fingerprints and criminal background checks. Advocates object to such background checks, as other patients who are prescribed more powerful drugs are not required to give fingerprints. Advocates also argue that such a requirement is an indignity to patients and shows a total lack of compassion. However, it is important to note that the requirement was part of the original law signed by the governor in 2013. If it is changed, the issue may have to be revisited by the General Assembly or challenged in court.

Other Roadblocks

Illinois also needs to choose 60 approved marijuana dispensaries and 22 growing sites before the substance will be available for medicinal use. The selection will likely take months. Once the state’s selections are made, the growers and dispensaries will have to fulfill further requirements to qualify, and the winners will still have to be determined and the growing season will have to be waited out. The new estimates project that perhaps spring or early summer of 2015 may be more realistic in having medical marijuana legally available.

Criminal Defense Attorney

While medical marijuana is technically legal in Illinois, the fact that it is not yet available by approved means presents a unique legal scenario in which medical marijuana users may still be prosecuted. While the law may have changed regarding certain types of marijuana use, other drug laws remain the same.

Drug crimes are serious offenses that deserve significant attention. The criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley have successful experience representing clients charged with drug offenses and are prepared to discuss your case with you. Contact us today for a consultation in our Rolling Meadows office. We serve clients in Chicago and the greater surrounding area.

Could Marijuana Possession be Decriminalized?

March 18th, 2014 at 12:35 pm

marijuana decriminalization, marijuana possession, Illinois criminal law, criminal defense, laweyr attorneyIn an effort to address the problem of ever-growing prison populations, a recent article reported that an Illinois lawmaker is proposing lower penalties for offenses involving small amounts of some drugs. The proposal includes decriminalizing low-level marijuana possession in favor of punishing the offense with a citation comparable to a traffic ticket.

The Proposal

The proposed change, coming from Rep. Michael Zalewski, a Democrat from Riverside, is part of a recent interest in realigning the criminal justice system in order to decrease the population of inmates in prisons across Illinois. He said his plan would also include lessening the penalty for possession of small amounts of other drugs, including heroin and cocaine. The proposal as it relates to marijuana would impart a $250.00 fine for the first such offense.

According to Zalewski, the plan would not only reduce prison populations, but would also lessen the burden for law enforcement labs to test substances related to criminal cases that may get dismissed anyway. He has been a recent advocate of a number of bills aimed at reducing sentences for certain criminal offenses, in spite of his previous efforts at tougher penalties for violations of gun control laws.

Committee Approval

Although the Judiciary Committee heard Zalewski’s proposals, they did not take a vote. Zalewski is beginning to gauge support for the proposals by speaking with colleagues, and has not yet stated when he will ask for panel approval.

Prison Overpopulation

Currently, there are 49,000 individuals imprisoned in Illinois’ correctional system, which was built to hold just 32,000. State prisons regularly house about 4,500 more inmates than they are suited to hold. The proposals outlined above, as well as other similar measures, take aim at those crimes that account for a large number of inmates in state prison. Not only would the measures allow for the reduction of the prison population, but would also pave the way for harsher penalties to be enforced for more serious crimes, such as gun offenses, something Zaleski also supports.

Not only does the overpopulation of prisons pose the realistic problem of space, but also the financial and budgetary problem of overspending on the prison system. Some estimate that the amount spent is about $1.3 billion – which is a great sum, but not even enough to adequately meet the needs of the inmates currently in the system.

Working out the Details

Zaleski refrained from describing the measure as the decriminalization of marijuana, the details of which are still being defined. He said it was more of a restructuring of the criminal justice system as it related to these offenses.

Even though the proposal has not been put into legislation yet, representatives from the narcotics bureau of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office said those arrested for possession of about an ounce of marijuana would face a $250.00 fine for their first offense. Previously, they would have faced up to one year of incarceration. Possession crimes involving heroin, cocaine, or other drugs will have a three-year prison term associated with them instead of four.

Drug crimes can be serious offenses. It is beneficial to have an experienced criminal defense attorney in Illinois to protect your rights. Contact the attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today for a consultation about your specific matter.

Medical Marijuana Use in Illinois

February 14th, 2014 at 1:02 pm

medical marijuana IMAGEThe legal status of marijuana use has been a popular topic in the media in the recent past. In fact, many are pointing out the coincidence that the two teams who will be competing in this year’s NFL Superbowl are from the two states that have legalized marijuana use across the board. While other states have not made such a dramatic change in their laws regarding use of the drug, a number of states across the country have legalized marijuana for the limited purpose of medical use. Illinois is one such state.

 Conditions to Legally Use Medical Marijuana in Illinois

Just because Illinois has legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes does not mean that users are free to do so at their own discretion. According to an article recently published by Liberty Voice, an individual who seeks to use the drug for medical reasons may still have to pay a substantial fee, get a background check, be fingerprinted by law enforcement, and could be asked to surrender their firearms. Other costs associated with the legal use of marijuana for medical reasons can include a $150.00 fee for an identification card application and the cost of fingerprinting, which can range from $30.00 to $50.00.

 Limits of the Law

In Illinois, marijuana was legalized for the limited purpose of use as another method of treatment for grave diseases that cause what is considered a debilitating condition, as well as chronic pain. Those who suffer from such defined diseases can use the drug within certain guidelines that still have to be fully defined. Other use is still illegal, and possession of the drug in Illinois will still be considered a Federal offense.

The Illinois Department of Public Health posted the proposed rules and regulations regarding the new law on their website. After February 7th, any public comments submitted will be turned over to the panel of lawmakers who will decide by April 2014 what exactly the medical marijuana law will include in the state. The law is part of a pilot project for medical marijuana use in Illinois, and will be in effect for four years.

 The State’s Position

Illinois concedes that medical marijuana use has a long history going back thousands of years, and modern medicine supports that its use is beneficial for those suffering with debilitating illnesses such as cancer, HIV and AIDS, and multiple sclerosis. The drug can be effective in treating pain and addressing side effects associated with these illnesses that other medicine cannot. Licensed physicians have recommended the drug to hundreds of thousands of patients in other states where medical use is legal, and its recognition by other medical organizations gives it credibility.

This law represents an important change in Illinois’ drug laws. However, it is important to note that the change is very narrow and limited to a specific use that must meet numerous conditions and regulations in order to be considered legal. If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime involving illegal drugs in Illinois, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help. Contact us today to discuss your case.

Medical Marijuana and Marijuana Drug Charges: What You Need To Know

October 22nd, 2013 at 2:38 pm

Illinois has a new medical marijuana law that will go into effect January 1, 2014, providing individuals across the state with certain medical conditions the opportunity to obtain the drug to manage their medical concerns. There are still penalties in the state for growing, selling, or possessing the drug outside of particular circumstances linked to the medical marijuana law. If you’re facing charges for marijuana possession or sale, reach out to an Illinois criminal attorney for guidance.

Elgin Medical Marijuana LawyerThe Department of Public Health is responsible for determining the medical conditions that are eligible for medical marijuana. Dozens of conditions such as MS and HIV/AIDS are currently approved. There are 22 cultivation sites across the state, one for each state police district. Approved patients can purchase up to 2.5 ounces twice per month (once every two weeks).

Outside of the approved scenarios for medical marijuana, there are still penalties in place for those found with marijuana or those selling it. For possession of 2.5 grams or less, you will face a misdemeanor with a possibility of 30 days in jail. Increasing amounts are linked to longer jail times and hefty fines.

Being linked to sale or trafficking of marijuana carries a different set of consequences. These crimes are categorized as misdemeanors for 10 grams or less, but beyond that you could face jail times of one year or more in addition to fines stretching between $25,000 and $200,000.

Likewise, cultivation and paraphernalia have their own set of rules. Less than five plants will lead to a misdemeanor cultivation charge with up to 1 year in jail, but longer jail times and high fines are connected with numerous plants or sale of paraphernalia. If you have been caught and accused of any of these crimes, don’t leave your future up to chance. Hire an Illinois criminal law attorney to assist you.

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