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Archive for the ‘Medical marijuana’ tag

FAQs About Medical Marijuana in Illinois

December 7th, 2017 at 8:22 am

medical marijuana, Rolling Meadows drug charges attorney, medical marijuana program, drug charges, Illinois drug lawsAccording to the ACLU, approximately 52 percent of all drug arrests conducted in the United States in 2010 were for marijuana-related crimes. This is largely thanks to the various drug laws that were passed during the government’s “war on drugs” campaign in the 70s—many of which imposed relatively harsh penalties for possessing or distributing marijuana.

However, in more recent years, several states, including Illinois, have relaxed their drug laws a bit and now permit the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Unfortunately many of these modern medical marijuana laws are not well understood by the public. Consider the following frequently asked questions to help clear some confusion. 

Q: What is “medical marijuana”?

A: The National Institute on Drug Abuse’s website notes that the term “medical marijuana” (sometimes called “medical cannabis”) refers to using the whole marijuana plant, or its extracts, to treat symptoms of illness. In other words, medical marijuana is, from a scientific standpoint, essentially the same as recreational marijuana.

Q: Who can legally obtain medical marijuana in Illinois?

A: In 2013, Illinois lawmakers passed the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act which was a temporary test program designed, at its core, to allow Illinois residents with qualifying debilitating medical conditions to use medical marijuana as part of their treatment plans.

Under this act qualifying “debilitating medical conditions” include Parkinson’s disease, glaucoma, muscular dystrophy, rheumatoid arthritis, as well as a number of other conditions. This pilot program was originally intended to run until the end of 2017 but last year lawmakers passed Senate Bill 10 which effectively extended the program until July 2020.

However, it should be noted that if you were convicted of a felony drug crime in the past then you are not eligible to participate in Illinois’ pilot medical marijuana program.

Q: How much medical marijuana can a qualifying patient possess under Illinois law?

A: Under Illinois’ Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, a qualifying patient who has properly registered and who possesses a registry identification card may not possess more than two and one-half ounces of usable marijuana.

Q: If I have a valid medical marijuana card can I legally grow marijuana at home for my own consumption?

A: No, under Illinois’ current medical marijuana laws individual cultivation is not allowed.

Need Legal Advice? Contact a Local Drug Charges Attorney

At The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley we defend clients against various felony and misdemeanor drug charges across Illinois. Thanks to Attorney Christopher Cosley, a former prosecutor in the Felony and Drug Division, our firm is well acquainted with the legal tactics commonly used by prosecuting attorneys in drug cases and we use this valuable insight to benefit our clients. To find out what an experienced Rolling Meadows drug charges attorney can do for you, contact our office today.

Source:

https://www.aclu.org/gallery/marijuana-arrests-numbers

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/marijuana-medicine

Illinois Medical Marijuana Pilot Program Conditions

November 12th, 2015 at 2:34 pm

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois drug laws, Illinois criminal lawyer,Illinois Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program, codified as 410 ILCS 130 et seq., is a temporary test program that will run until the end of 2017, which allows Illinois residents with qualifying medical conditions and diseases to have access to medical marijuana as part of their treatment or pain management regimen. Patients who are eligible under the Act must have a debilitating medical condition as defined in the Act, which includes 39 different conditions, including:

  • Cancer;
  • Glaucoma;
  • Hepatitis C;
  • Spinal cord disease or a spinal cord injury;
  • Parkinson’s disease;
  • Muscular dystrophy;
  • Traumatic brain injuries or post-concussion syndrome;
  • Rheumatoid arthritis;
  • Fibrous dysplasia;
  • Wasting syndrome;
  • Lupus;
  • Seizures; or
  • A handful of other rare and painful conditions.

Eight New Conditions for Inclusion in the Medical Cannabis Pilot Program

At the beginning of October, the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board provided a recommendation that an additional eight health conditions be added to the list of health conditions that are eligible for access to medical marijuana, including:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder;
  • Chronic pain syndrome;
  • Autism;
  • Osteoarthritis;
  • Pain due to trauma;
  • Chronic postoperative pain;
  • Intractable pain; and
  • Irritable bowel syndrome.

These eight health conditions are not yet officially included as part of the Illinois Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program. The Illinois Department of Public Health must first approve these eight conditions, and then develop administrative rules concerning medical marijuana use for these conditions, before they can officially be included as eligible.

The Basics of the Compassionate Use Act

Under the Act, a qualified and registered patient may use and possess a quantity of marijuana within the confines of the Act. Similarly, the qualified and registered patient’s registered and designated caregiver may also possess a quantity of medical marijuana on behalf of the patient.

However, there are restrictions on the use and possession of medical marijuana under the Act. For instance, it is still illegal to have or use medical marijuana in a school bus, on the grounds of a school, or at any home that also serves as a child care facility. Medical marijuana can only be transported in a vehicle so long as it is in closed and sealed packaging and can never be used while operating a motor vehicle. Medical marijuana cannot be used in a public place, or in the presence of anyone under the age of 18 years old.

So even if you are someone who is eligible to participate in the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program, and even if you have registered for the program and have obtained the appropriate identification card, the Compassionate Use Act is not a free pass to do whatever you like when it comes to your medical marijuana. The laws regulating the use of medical marijuana are strict, and if you violate them, you will be prosecuted.

Medical marijuana is still relatively new in Illinois, and people who are authorized under the Compassionate Use Act may inadvertently end up in trouble with the law: either for improper possession, transportation or use of the drug. If this happens to you, you will need the assistance of a skilled criminal defense lawyer.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

If you are permitted to possess and use marijuana for medical purposes, but have been charge with a drug offense, please contact an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney immediately. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at (847) 394-3200 for immediate assistance.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=3503&ChapterID=35

http://www2.illinois.gov/gov/mcpp/Pages/default.aspx

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.

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.

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