is weed legal in illinois

Is Weed Legal In Illinois: Full Guide

Table of Contents

The Prairie State, located in the heart of the Midwest region of the United States, is known for its rich farmland, picturesque rolling hillsides, winding rivers, dense forests, and vast lakes. But now, it is also known for something else – legal cannabis. In recent years, Illinois became the 11th state in the country to legalize the use of cannabis for adults. If you are planning a visit to the bustling city of Chicago and are interested in using cannabis during your trip, it is important to be aware of the laws and regulations surrounding its use.

Is Weed Legal in Illinois? Straight to the point.

  • Recreational THC: Yes
  • Medical THC: Yes 
  • CBD: Yes
  • Delta-8: Yes

Medical Weed Laws

In 2013, Illinois passed a law called the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, which allowed for the use of cannabis for medical purposes with strict regulations. This made Illinois the 20th state in the US to legalize medical marijuana.

If you’re in Illinois and want to use cannabis for medical reasons, you need to be at least 18 years old. But if you’re a minor, your caregiver can apply for a medical cannabis card on your behalf.

If you want to use cannabis for medical purposes, you need to be a legally registered patient of Illinois and have a qualified medical condition. The law lists over 30 medical conditions that can be treated with cannabis and the Department of Public Health can add more.

You must be terminally ill, or have one of the following conditions:

  • Autism
  • Agitation of Alzheimer’s disease
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Arnold-Chiari malformation
  • Cancer
  • Cachexia/wasting syndrome
  • Causalgia
  • Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy
  • Chronic pain
  • Crohn’s disease
  • CRPS (complex regional pain syndrome Type II)
  • Dystonia
  • Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
  • Fibrous Dysplasia
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Hydromyelia
  • Interstitial cystitis
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Lupus
  • Migraines
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Myasthenia Gravis
  • Myoclonus
  • Nail-patella syndrome
  • Neuro-Bechet’s autoimmune disease
  • Neurofibromatosis
  • Neuropathy
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Polycystic kidney disease (PKD)
  • Post-Concussion Syndrome
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Reflex sympathetic dystrophy
  • Residual limb pain
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Seizures (including those characteristic of Epilepsy)
  • Severe fibromyalgia
  • Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Spinal cord disease (including but not limited to arachnoiditis)
  • Spinal cord injury is damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity
  • Spinocerebellar ataxia
  • Superior canal dehiscence syndrome
  • Syringomyelia
  • Tarlov cysts
  • Tourette syndrome
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Ulcerative colitis

Legally registered patients of Illinois are qualified to apply for an ID card that permits the use of cannabis for medical purposes once a medical professional has verified that they have a qualifying medical condition. Medical marijuana patients can buy up to 71 grams every 14 days. 

Recreational Weed Laws

On January 1, 2020, Illinois became the11th US state to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Residents of Illinois who are 21 years old or older may possess a maximum of: 30 grams of weed; 5 grams of cannabis concentrate; and 500 milligrams of THC in edibles (100mg max each). The possession limit for someone who does not reside in Illinois is exactly half that of an Illinois resident. 

It is illegal for non-citizens of the United States to buy, possess, or smoke marijuana. Deportation may result even from admitting to using marijuana. Driving under the influence of marijuana is prohibited, and you may receive a DUI if you are caught doing so. 

Is Weed Decriminalized in Illinois?

Marijuana use has been somewhat decriminalized in the state. Decriminalization typically entails no jail time or criminal record for the initial possession of a small amount for personal use. The actions are handled as a minor traffic infraction.

Illinois changed the penalty for possessing less than 10 grams of cannabis from a misdemeanor to a fine of $100 to $200 in July 2016. The legal limit for DWI is 5 nanograms/ml of THC in the blood, according to the law.

Cannabinoid Variants

In addition to regulated and licensed marijuana, Illinois has legalized the use of CBD and other cannabinoid variants.

Is CBD legal in Illinois?

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp production in the United States. This legislation opened up vast possibilities for CBD-rich hemp to enter the mainstream market, allowing consumers to purchase CBD in retail establishments and online. CBD is often found in supplements, topicals, edibles, portable vape pens, home goods, and beauty and body care products. 

The Farm Bill legally protects CBD production, but it is not without stipulation. All commercially available CBD products must be derived from hemp and contain less than 0.3% Delta-9 THC. However, some states have elected to regulate CBD independently and may have further restrictions on its use and distribution. CBD is legal in Illinois.

Is Delta-8 legal in Illinois?

Delta-8 THC is legal in Illinois as long as it contains less than 0.3% Delta-9 THC. The State of Illinois has not yet specifically prohibited or regulated the use or sale of Delta-8 THC. However, it is important to note that the legality of Delta-8 THC is in a state of flux and legality may change with time.

Is Delta-10 legal in Illinois? 

Good news for those in Illinois, you can now use a type of THC called Delta-10. It’s similar to Delta-8 and can be found in products like tinctures, edibles, vape pens and joints. It’s usually derived from hemp and as long as it contains less than 0.3% of delta-9 THC, it’s totally fine to use.

Are THC-O and other THC variants legal in Illinois? 

In recent years, alternative hemp-derived cannabinoids have dominated the market as a more accessible way to get high. However, they have existed in a legal gray area until February 2023. 

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has declared Delta-8-THC-O and Delta-9-THC-O illegal controlled substances. These compounds are not naturally occurring in either hemp or marijuana and are considered synthetic cannabinoids. 

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp and its byproducts so long as they contain no more than 0.3% Delta-9-THC by volume. The market for cannabinoids has grown in the states since then as several alternative cannabinoids emerged, including synthetic THC isomers. 

For the time being, this latest update does not affect alternative cannabinoids like THC-JD, THC-P, THCP-O, THC-H, and THC-B because they do exist naturally in trace amounts. Advocates feel that only the end of the federal prohibition on marijuana will successfully regulate synthetic or naturally occurring cannabinoids.

Are HHC and HHC-O legal in Illinois?

HHC and HHC-O are popular alternative cannabinoids derived from hemp. They offer a milder high than Delta-9 THC, which is appealing to those with a lesser tolerance or for first-timers with cannabis products. These are legal in Illinois so long as they abide by the rules set forth by the Farm Bill. 

Cultivation Laws

Only patients who possess a medical marijuana card are allowed to grow up to five plants at once in their home or on their property, according to the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act.. However, neither indoor or outdoor marijuana growing is permitted for recreational users. A civil fine of $200 is imposed for breaking this law. 

Only the licensed medical marijuana facilities in Illinois are permitted to cultivate cannabis for commercial purposes of selling, providing, or supplying cannabis to users.

Where to Buy Weed in Illinois

There are plenty of ways to get high in Illinois! We suggest sticking to the legal channels, of which there are many options. 


There are 185 dispensaries in the great state of Illinois and the number is growing – pun intended. All you have to do is ask Google or Siri…or your neighbor!


Pot delivery is not legal yet…but, legislation is currently pending to allow cannabis delivery. House Bill 193, House Bill 312, and Senate Bill 2404 are in the works to legalize delivery for both recreational and medical patients. 

Direct to Consumer

At this time direct to consumer is not legal in Illinois. Both recreational users and medical patients have to purchase marijuana from a licensed dispensary. However, our friend Gov. J.B. Pritzker says cannabis delivery could be coming soon, opening the door to possibly ordering it directly from your favorite brand.

Black Market

Despite legalization efforts, the marijuana black market remains active. The illegal purchase of weed from a black market dealer comes with serious risks. Not only is it difficult to determine the potency and purity of the product, but the legal implications can be disastrous. In some cases, a mere slap on the wrist, but in others, buying weed illegally results in jail time or a prison sentence. For those that live in a state with a medical or recreational marijuana program, it’s best to obtain cannabis through legal channels.

General FAQ

Where can you smoke weed in Illinois? 

If you own your house, you may smoke marijuana there. You must have your landlord’s approval if you rent. Additionally, smoking is permitted in marijuana dispensaries and tobacco shops that permit it. Both bars and restaurants are smoke-free zones. 

Can you smoke weed in public in Illinois?

You are prohibited from smoking marijuana in the following locations: public areas (anywhere you could be seen by others); automobiles; close to anyone under the age of 21; school grounds; and anywhere that the Smoke Free Illinois Act forbids smoking. Cannabis use is prohibited on college campuses and residence halls and for those who receive housing choice vouchers or live in public housing.

When was weed legalized in Illinois?

Medical marijuana was legalized in 2013 and recreational marijuana was legalized in 2020. 

Punishment for Illegal Acts FAQ

What are the penalties for selling, gifting, transporting, or importing weed?

In the state of Illinois, selling and giving are the same thing. A dispensary license is required in Illinois before cannabis can be transported, sold, or imported.

The punishment for the sale or manufacture of 2.5 grams or less is a misdemeanor charge, which carries a potential fine of $1,500 and a maximum sentence of 6 months in jail.

The penalty for the sale or manufacture of 30-500 is a felony charge, which carries a $50,000 maximum fine and up to 5 years in prison. Play by the rules because the fines and jail time for breaking the law only get worse with volume.

What is the penalty for selling to a minor?

Selling weed to anyone under the age of 18 years old holds the same weight but DOUBLED. 

For example, if you get 1 year in jail and a $50,000 fine for a weed related offense, you can double that to 2 years in jail and a $100,000 fine if the offense involves a minor (under 18 years old).

What is possession with the intent to sell?

When you have more cannabis than you could reasonably consume or more than what is allowed by law, you are in possession with the intent to distribute.

The associated penalties depend on the amount manufactured or distributed, here are some of the penalties for example:

Between 2.5 and 10 grams (Class A misdemeanor): 1 to 3 years in prison, a fine of up to $2,500, or both.
Between 10 and 30 grams (Class 4 felony): 1 to 3 years in prison, a fine of up to $25,000, or both.
Between 30 and 500 grams (Class 3 felony): 2 to 5 years in prison, a fine of up to $50,000, or both.

When is possession still a crime?

Possession is a crime if you hold more than the legal limits or if suspected of intent to distribute. 

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