“I’ve been using medical cannabis for a while in Springfield, Illinois. Even with the tax break over rec use, I’m still paying a lot. Is it possible to grow my own weed?”
Yes you can with certain limitations. If you are a medical user — with an Illinois state government-supplied medical card — you are able to grow up to five plants over five inches tall at a time.
But not so for recreational or adult-use weed, which has been legal in the state since 2020, You can be fined $200 for growing five plants. And of course, if you grow more, you get more punishment by the law.
Even as a medical marijuana user, you have other regulations you must observe. For example, you must be 21 years or older. You can only grow cannabis plants for personal use. The plants must be grown in a locked room, with no access to anyone under 21.
They must be kept out of public view and grown with permission of the owner of the property (if it’s not yourself). A landlord can ban renters from growing cannabis on the property if the lease includes the ban in it. And renters can’t grow cannabis in federally subsidized housing.
Given the high cost of legal marijuana in Illinois, it makes sense to save where you can — especially if you have a green thumb.
While legal weed is available to medical users and rec users in Chicago, you still need to be careful that you don’t step over the line, because the state is ready to be quite heavy-handed for any infractions.
As a certified medical marijuana user, you can obtain up to 2.5 ounces, or 71 grams, of cannabis within a two-week period. It’s possible to get more if you need it and get a waiver through the state.
For rec users, those over 21 can legally have up to 30g of weed, or up to 500g of THC (the cannabis ingredient that makes people high) in a cannabis-infused product, or up to 5g of marijuana concentrate, such as oils or medicated creams.
If you are found carrying more than 30g of cannabis but less than 100g, the police can charge you with a class A misdemeanor. It’s also illegal for anyone, whether they use recreationally or medically, to consume within a car while it is on the road. Violation of that is also a class A misdemeanor.
Possession of 100 to 500 grams is a Class 4 felony, which could be punished by a minimum sentence of one year and a maximum sentence of three years, as well as a maximum fine of $25,000.
At the upper end of the scale, possession of more than 5,000 grams of marijuana is a Class 1 felony, punishable by going to prison for a minimum of four years and a maximum of 15, as well as getting hit by a fine of $25,000.
There are a lot of reasons you should get your medical marijuana card in Illinois, including being able to grow your own plants, getting a substantial tax break, and having a preferred status for purchasing if there is a cannabist shortage in the state.
When seeking to get your medical card, look for a Telehealth provider such as HelloMD, which has a lot of experience getting people certified for medical marijuana use in the state – and it’s all online. Their telehealth process, including a live video consultation with a qualified Illinois healthcare practitioner, is fast, easy, and cost-effective, and it will have you up and running — or growing — in no time.