Under a new Illinois law which went into effect last weekend, possession of marijuana can be charged as a Misdemeanor or as a more lenient ordinance violation (similar to a traffic ticket).
11 people were cited for marijuana possession over the weekend. The debut of the new law coincided with Chicago’s massive music festival – Lollapalooza. And although many predicted that festival goers would be the first to receive violations, no one at the festival was cited.
Those cited with ordinance violations will be forced to pay a minimum fine of $250 and as much as $500 depending on the amount of cannabis they are caught with. The ordinance applies to marijuana amounts of 15 grams or less.
Another gentleman was stopped right outside the festival grounds when police saw him rolling a joint. He initially tried to run, but police caught him and found 20 ecstacy pills on him (in addition to a small amount of marijuana).
“The 11 people cited for possession of marijuana will face nothing more than a fine,” says Illinois criminal defense lawyer, Brett Appelman. “However, the guy caught with ecstasy is in a much more serious situation. In Illinois, possession of ANY amount of ANY drug besides marijuana leads to an automatic felony charge. This man is facing felony possession charges as well as a likely Possession with Intent to Distribute charge. The court will not believe that those 20 pills of ecstasy were only for his personal use. My advice to this young man would be to stop talking to the police and immediately contact a lawyer to assess his situation and protect his rights.”