Weed is Legal in Illinois
Whether you are a recreational user of weed in Illinois or a medical marijuana user, the Prairie State has your back — at least mostly. While you can still break the law for possession or not following the rules, you can get legal, quality-controlled safe weed from authorized dispensaries.
After allowing medical marijuana sales for more than five years, Illinois became the 11th state to legalize recreational cannabis on June 25, 2019. And it was the first state to do so through legislation rather than a ballot initiative. Under the state’s Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, recreational cannabis sales to adults aged 21 and older officially began on January 1, 2020.
The new law initially allowed 55 medical marijuana dispensaries, legal in the state since 2014, to apply for adult-use retail licenses, which would permit them to sell recreational cannabis from their medical dispensary locations.
To buy safe and legal weed in Illinois, here’s what you need to know.
History of Legal Weed Sales in Illinois
After outlawing recreational cannabis use in 1939, the state took the first step towards the legal acceptance with the Cannabis Control Act of 1978. While technically legalizing medical cannabis use no official regulations were ever put in place.
In 2013, Illinois passed its first medical cannabis law with teeth when Gov. Pat Quinn signed the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, legalizing the cultivation, sale, and use of medical marijuana in the state. Dispensaries started making their first sales to qualified patients in November 2015.
When recreational weed was officially legalized in 2020, the landmark laws also triggered the expungement of hundreds of thousands of records of cannabis possession under 30 grams prior to legalization.
Who Can Buy Weed in Illinois Now?
If you’re 21 or older and a legal resident of Illinois, you can buy recreational cannabis from any of the adult-use dispensaries. You are allowed to buy up to 30 grams of weed (about half the amount a medical patient may purchase), five grams of concentrate, and edibles with up to 500 mg of THC. An Illinois visitor may possess up to half these amounts.
If you don’t want to or can’t go into a dispensary, many have online ordering and curbside pickup, so you don’t have to wait in long lines. Check dispensary websites for regulations and policies. If you go to a dispensary, remember to bring your ID to prove you are 21 or older, and also bring cash, because credit cards are not currently accepted.
As far as medical cannabis in Illinois, registered patients and caregivers may purchase up to 2.5 ounces (71 grams) of usable cannabis per 14-day period from an authorized dispensary. At one time you had to specify which dispensary you buy from, to prevent people from going to different dispensaries and buying more weed than legally allowed, but now you can buy from any legal dispensary.
To be eligible to buy legal medical cannabis, you need to a licensed medical professional to certify you have a debilitating condition. You can book your appointment with a licensed pro in person or through an online platform, such as HelloMD. If you are under 18, you will need a caregiver to sign up with you in order to gbuy the medical cannabis for you. Adults can also assign a caregiver to purchase legal cannabis products for them.
The Illinois Department of Public Health oversees the state’s Medical Cannabis Patient Registry Program. Prospective patients can apply online or print an application and mail it.
Other Relevant Cannabis Rules in Illinois
You are allowed to smoke weed in your home, if you own it. If you rent, you need to ask for your landlord’s OK.
You can also smoke in tobacco retailers and weed dispensaries that permit it. You cannot smoke in bars or restaurants, as well as:
- Public places
- Motor vehicles
- Near anyone under the age of 21
- On school grounds
- Anyplace where smoking is prohibited
You can keep weed in your car as long as it is in a secured, sealed container and not accessible to you while the car is moving. You shouldn’t cross state lines with weed in your car.
Where Can I Buy Weed in Illinois?
You cannot buy from an individual in Illinois, only from a state-approved dispensary. Some may sell both medical and recreational weed, while others may just focus on one.
Buying from an authorized dispensary gives users a certain level of protection and peace of mind. All cannabis and cannabis-infused products are tested in a state-approved lab for cannabinoid profiles, pesticides, microbiological contaminants, mycotoxins, and residual solvents.
Here are some of the dispensaries worth checking out:
Verilife does both medical marijuana and recreational sales through its dispensaries in Arlington Heights, Galena, North Aurora, Ottawa, Chicago (River North), Romeoville, Rosemont, and Schaumburg. It has a good selection of on-trend brands and products, and provides fast, free delivery.
Covering the southside of Chicago and south of the city in Calumet City, Mission Dispensary has two Illinois outlets covering both sides of the medical/recreation street with good service, selection and discounts.
The Veteran- and women-owned Herbal Remedies offers both medical and adult use dispensaries in Quincy. Its knowledgeable staff has first-hand experience in consulting with patients and knowledge in many different strains of cannabis and the different methods of consuming.
Trinity Compassionate Care Centers
Serving Peoria’s cannabis community, Trinity Compassionate Care Centers have one rec/med dispensary and another rec-only option. The dispensaries offer premium quality cannabis products with a “concierge-level of service.”
Get Your Medical Card in Illinois
Since 2015 HelloMD has helped more than 100,000 patients connect with a practitioner and get the sound advice they need from the comfort and privacy of their homes.
We can help you get your Illinois medical cannabis certifications online for only $129, saving up to 30% in taxes. It’s as simple as 1-2-3: Register online. Schedule a time to meet with a practitioner through your computer or smartphone. And get advice and certification from the practitioner.