Cannabis “Possession” Under the Law
Marijuana possession is considered a drug crime. “Possession” may include more situations than you think such as:
- Marijuana among your personal belongings, such as in your pockets, bag, purse or backpack
- Marijuana in your vehicle
- Marijuana in your home
- Marijuana paraphernalia, such as pipes or seeds, in your home, car or your belongings
In each of these situations, the law makes no distinction as to who the marijuana belongs to. So if a person brings marijuana into your house or leaves it in your vehicle, you could still be charged with a drug offense.
Also, multiple people can be in possession of the same cannabis. So if you are in a car with three friends, and there is marijuana in the car, in some cases all of you could face possession charges. This is called constructive possession.
Illinois drug law typically places marijuana into a lower level of offenses related to illegal drugs. Most marijuana offenses are considered misdemeanor offenses unless certain requirements are met such as: large amounts of cannabis, the sale or transfer of cannabis or using the drug near a school or church. In short, not all illegal drugs are equal, and possession of one may carry a harsher penalty than possession of another.
The actual drug charges brought with marijuana cases will depend on what happened in the circumstances of your case. Also, drug possession may be one of multiple charges brought about by the single arrest. If you are found with marijuana, you may be charged with:
- Possession: Sometimes called simple possession, this charge is associated with small amounts of marijuana. In Illinois, possession can be a misdemeanor or felony.
- Intent to distribute: If you are caught with a certain amount of marijuana – above a limit set by the law – you could be charged with possession with intent to distribute even if you have done nothing but possess the drug. Alternatively, having small amounts in multiple containers or packages can trigger a charge for intent to distribute. This charge is more serious than marijuana possession and comes with harsher penalties.
- Trafficking/transporting: Similar to intent to distribute, these charges are typically associated with larger amounts of marijuana and arrests made in-transit. For instance, if you are caught with pot in a car, on a boat or while trying to board a plane, you could be subject to trafficking laws.
- Possession of paraphernalia: This law adds additional charges to anyone found with marijuana paraphernalia. This could include pipes, seeds or any other equipment used to smoke, transport or grow marijuana.
- Cultivation: Growing marijuana, for personal use or for distribution, is illegal in Illinois. Growing marijuana may bring about charges including possession, distribution and possession of paraphernalia.
- DUI and DWI: While most people think about alcohol when they think of driving under the influence, most states’ DUI and DWI laws include provisions for anyone driving under the influence of marijuana.
- Weapons charges: If you are arrested for possession of marijuana you may also be subject to weapons charges that may not otherwise apply. For example, in some states a a person arrested for drug possession may be charged with possession of a weapon or the drug charge enhanced because of the presence of a weapon based on something as innocent as a baseball bat.
Keep in mind that these marijuana charges don’t cancel each other out. It is possible, for example, that one arrest could lead to charges of possession, possession of paraphernalia and DUI.
If you’ve been arrested for a marijuana drug charge, or any other criminal offenses, you should have the very best representation.
Chicago drug attorney, Purav Bhatt practices in both state and federal courts in Chicago, Skokie, Rolling Meadows, as well as, Lake, Cook, DuPage and Will counties. Please call 773-791-9682 or contact Mr. Bhatt to discuss your matter.