A pilot program in Illinois that is supposed to run until the end of 2018 permits some patients to use medical marijuana. While the state’s Controlled Substances Act makes possessing, cultivating, selling or trafficking marijuana a crime, if a person has less than 2.5 grams of cannabis, it is considered a Class C misdemeanor and the person will simply be required to pay a fine. Laws about drugs such as heroin and cocaine are much stricter.

Possession of marijuana only becomes a felony when a person has 30 grams or more. If the person has 2.5 to 10 grams, it is a class B misdemeanor and a class A misdemeanor for larger amounts under 30 grams. However, possession of 10-30 grams becomes a Class 4 felony when it is a subsequent offense. There are four felony classes, and a Class 1 felony for marijuana possession involves more than 5,000 grams. Having one to five producing plants is considered a Class A misdemeanor, but any more than that is a felony. The penalty for having more than 50 includes a fine of up to $100,000.

There are additional penalties if a person sells on school grounds or to someone three years younger. If a person has more than 2,500 grams, this is considered trafficking and the penalty for it is doubled compared to a sale.

Even though a misdemeanor may not seem serious, as these laws demonstrate, consequences for drug charges can become much more serious if there are later offenses. People who are facing marijuana-related charges might want to talk to an attorney about the charges and possibilities for defense. For example, the person might argue that the drugs belonged to someone else. An attorney might also look at the process of search and seizure and other elements of the case to see if the person’s rights were violated.