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Cannabis use in Illinois

Cannabis products are legal for personal use in Illinois as of January 1, 2020. There are many rules and restrictions about the use of cannabis. This article goes over the basics.

What is cannabis?

Cannabis is a flowering plant that creates a mind-altering state. This state is caused by a compound called tetrahydrocannabinol, more commonly known as THC.

Cannabis as a plant can be used for different things. Hemp is made from the stalks of the cannabis plant, contains very low levels of THC, and has been legal for a long time. Marijuana comes from the flowering buds of the cannabis plant, which has a high level of THC. These flowers are often dried and smoked. They can also be turned into oil, which can then be used to create food or drink products (“edibles”).

Who can buy cannabis?

Anyone 21 years old or older can buy cannabis in Illinois.

Where can I buy cannabis?

You may only buy cannabis at a licensed dispensary. You cannot buy it from an individual. 

Each city or town can decide whether or not to allow dispensaries. The Cannabis Regulation Oversight Officer of llinois website has a map of the dispensaries that are licensed to sell.

Remember to bring your ID to prove you are 21 years old or older. Also, bring cash, because credit cards are not accepted. Although, some dispensaries may accept debit cards. 

Can I grow my own cannabis?

No. Only medical marijuana patients can grow plants at home. If you are a medical marijuana patient, you may be allowed to grow 5 plants.

How much cannabis can I have?

Illinois residents can have a maximum of:

  • 30 grams of cannabis flower (marijuana);
  • 5 grams of cannabis concentrate; and
  • 500 milligrams of THC in edibles (100mg max each).

If you are not an Illinois resident, then the possession limit for you is exactly half of what the limits are for Illinois residents.

Where can I use cannabis?

You can smoke marijuana in your home, if you own it. If you rent, you need your landlord’s permission.

You can also smoke in tobacco retailers and marijuana dispensaries that allow it. You cannot smoke in bars or restaurants.

You cannot use cannabis in the following places:

  • Public places (any place you could be observed by others);
  • In any motor vehicle;
  • Near anyone under the age of 21;
  • On school grounds; and
  • Any place where smoking is prohibited under the Smoke Free Illinois Act.

Colleges can ban cannabis on their campuses and dorms. 

People who live in public housing, or get a housing choice voucher, cannot smoke marijuana.

Can I use cannabis if I’m not a citizen?

No. People who are not citizens cannot use cannabis. Even admitting to smoking marijuana could lead to deportation. Learn more about the dangers of using marijuana as a noncitizen.

Can my employer fire me for using cannabis?

Yes. Employers are allowed to have drug-free policies, and enforce them with drug tests.

Can I get a DUI for driving high?

Yes. It is illegal to drive under the influence of cannabis. There is a way to test your blood to see if you’ve been using cannabis. There are also other ways for police to be able to tell. For example, your eyes are bloodshot or your reaction times are slow. Learn more about getting a DUI for driving high.

Can I keep cannabis in my car?

Yes, but it must be in a secured, sealed container. It must not be accessible to you while the car is moving.

Can I use cannabis while on probation?

It depends. Starting January 1, 2024, you cannot be ordered to avoid cannabis or alcohol while on probation, conditional discharge, or supervision unless: 

  • You are under 21 years old, 
  • The offense involved having an intoxicating compound in your body,
  • You are participating in a problem-solving court, 
  • You went through a clinical assessment, and the treatment plan includes alcohol or cannabis testing, or 
  • A court-ordered evaluation, based on a validated clinical assessment in a treatment plan, recommends avoiding alcohol and cannabis.

You cannot be ordered to avoid using any substance prescribed by a medical provider or authorized by the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program Act unless:

  • You are participating in a problem-solving court, or
  • You went through a clinical assessment, and the treatment plan includes alcohol or cannabis testing.

What if I have criminal records related to cannabis?

See Cannabis is legal now. Can I clear my record?

Last full review by a subject matter expert
December 19, 2019
Last revised by staff
November 16, 2023

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