Decrim bill passes House!
Last update: May 18, 2016
Following its victory in the Senate last month, SB 2228 passed the House of Representatives on another strong vote of 64-50 and is now on its way to the governor’s desk. This bill would remove criminal penalties for the possession of a small amount of marijuana and replace them with a fine. Sen. Heather Steans’ bill, sponsored by Rep. Kelly Cassidy in the House, would remove the possibility of arrest, jail, and a harmful criminal record for people in possession of a small amount of marijuana. While not ideal, these changes would vastly improve current law by replacing criminal penalties with a fine of between $100 and $200 for possession of up to 10 grams. The bill also makes improvements to current DUI laws, which today can lead to unimpaired drivers being considered under the influence weeks after consuming cannabis. SB 2228 mirrors another bill presented earlier this year by Rep. Kelly Cassidy.
The bill reflects changes made by Gov. Bruce Rauner to a similar bill last year, so we expect he will sign this year’s legislation.
If you were arrested for possessing a small amount of marijuana and suffered consequences, or if you are a supportive law enforcement official, clergy member, or medical professional, please let us know at [email protected]. Please include your address or nine-digit zip code so we can find out who your lawmakers are.
Challenges continue in medical cannabis program
It has been anything but smooth sailing in the state medical cannabis pilot program. High costs for providers and cultivators, delays in the program roll-out, and restrictive provisions that suppress patient and doctor participation have made for a difficult time. With the December 2017 expiration date on the horizon, many are concerned that the program may falter before it is allowed to function to its fullest potential.
But efforts to improve the program continue. Sen. William Haine has a trio of bills that would vastly improve the state system. SB 2981 would extend the program until January 2021, and SB 2891 would establish workplace protections for patients who consume medical cannabis outside of work. He even has a bill that would make clear that patients should not to be denied their right to possess firearms simply because they are patients.
For more information on how to register as a patient, or to see announcements from state program officials, follow this link.
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