Marijuana was once considered a taboo topic, only used by degenerates and hippies or those who were anti-establishment. Now it's becoming more and more mainstream and therefore the laws are inherently confusing.

The legalization of marijuana is still relatively new in Illinois, so many people may not fully understand the laws and regulations surrounding its use.  It's important to remember that just as with alcohol, there are rules and regulations that must be followed when it comes to the use of marijuana.

A new bill has been introduced recently to help curb the issue of law enforcement using the odor of marijuana as probable cause to search a vehicle.


Alcohol and Marijuana Laws

Just like alcohol, pot is legal to possess and use in certain situations, such as in a private residence and illegal to use in a motor vehicle.

However, it is illegal to consume marijuana in public place.

While medical marijuana cardholders may have more leeway when it comes to possession, they are still subject to certain restrictions and guidelines.


Restrictions on Possession of Cannabis

Here's what the Illinois Vehicle Code says about the possession of cannabis in a motor vehicle.  The original bill, 625 ILCS 5/11-502.15:

(a) No driver may use cannabis within the passenger area of any motor vehicle upon a highway in this State.
(b) No driver may possess cannabis within any area of any motor vehicle upon a highway in this State except in a secured, sealed or resealable, odor-proof, child-resistant cannabis container that is inaccessible.

Changes to Probable Cause for Search

The most recent amendment, Senate Floor Amendment No. 3, also provides that the odor of burnt or raw cannabis in a motor vehicle by itself shall not be considered probable cause for a search of the motor vehicle, vehicle operator, or passengers in the vehicle if the driver or occupant is 21 years of age or over.

This still has to make it through the Illinois House State of Representatives.

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