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decriminalization, marijuana, Illinois drug crimes lawyerThe latest chapter in the ongoing story to reduce the population of overcrowded Illinois prisons unfolded in a rather anticlimactic fashion last week, as a bipartisan measure to decriminalize minor possession of marijuana was vetoed by Governor Bruce Rauner. Despite his ongoing efforts to help the prison system become effective, Rauner believed that the bill, in its current form, is a little too lenient and that the amount of marijuana to be considered decriminalized needs to be lowered. The governor did indicate, however, that he supports the legislation’s intended goals, but that such changes “must be made carefully and incrementally.”

Goals of the Bipartisan Legistlation

As passed by the House and Senate earlier this year, the proposed law would make possession of up to 15 grams of marijuana a civil offense, similar to a traffic ticket. Rather than facing criminal prosecution, an offender would be required to pay a fine ranging from $55 to $125. The bill also sought to relax the state’s current zero-tolerance law regarding marijuana and driving under the influence. Under current statutes, a driver can be charged with DUI for showing any trace of cannabis in his or her system regardless of impairment or how long ago it was ingested. Lawmakers looked to establish an impairment standard, similar to a blood alcohol content limit, of 15 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood.

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transfer reform, juvenile crime, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneyThe spring legislative session was a fairly busy one in Springfield as lawmakers passed a number of measures that now await action by Governor Bruce Rauner. One such bill, which has been referred to as the “transfer reform bill,” is designed to grant juvenile courts additional authority in deciding whether or not to try an alleged juvenile offender as an adult. The measure hopes to increase rehabilitative efficacy and prevent more young people from entering an unbreakable cycle of crime and punishment.

Automatic Transfer Laws

In 1899, Cook County was the first jurisdiction in the country to introduce a juvenile court system. Based on the premise that adults and children were inherently different, lawmakers agreed that appropriate consequences for criminal activity should generally differ based on age and maturity. As crime in the 20th century peaked, however, a wave of “war-on-crime” efforts swept the nation, leading to new laws allowing more juveniles to be tried in adult criminal courts.

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medical marijuana, Illinois law, Illinois Criminal Defense AttorneyDespite being legal since January 1, 2014, not a single Illinois resident has been able to obtain marijuana for approved medical purposes yet. After more than a year of administrative delays, the state government has indicated that the program should be up and running by the end of the summer. Lawmakers and citizens alike are understandably skeptical, and a measure recently passed both the state House and Senate that would extend the program back to its intended length.

The Medical Marijuana Program

In August of 2013, then-Governor Pat Quinn signed into law the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, set to take effect at the beginning of the following year. The Act was aimed at determining the effectiveness of marijuana in helping patients with specified medical conditions while monitoring the impact of the drug’s medical use throughout the state. Included in the law was a sunset provision, intended to automatically end the pilot program on January 1, 2018, limiting its lifespan to four years.

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