On the final day of May this year, Illinois became the 11th North American State to legalize recreational cannabis. It was widely expected to be New Jersey or New York, but Illinois beat both to the punch.
Unsurprisingly, there’s been a huge surge of interest among out-of-state residents and international visitors planning trips to this new pro-pot state.However, cannabis tourists setting their sights on Illinois should know one or two things before booking their flights.
More accurately, several important things about Illinois’ fledgling recreational cannabis market.
There’s No Legal Cannabis on Sale Yet
For example, Illinois he may have approved recreational cannabis legalization, but the law won’t actually go into effect until January 1st next year.If you head over before then, there’s technically no way of purchasing cannabis legally - unless you have a medical cannabis card.
There Will Still Be Maximum Possession Limits
Not that you’d be likely to carry more than 30g anyway, but this is still the legal possession limit for cannabis users in Illinois. You can also have up to 5g of concentrates on your person at any one time. There’s technically nothing to stop you buying more cannabis products by visiting several dispensaries, but you could face a fine if busted.
Cultivation Will Still Be Illegal
Unlike most comparable pro-pot state, Illinois has not yet outlined any permissions for recreational cannabis users to cultivate their own plants.Qualified medical cannabis cardholders will be permitted to grow a maximum of five cannabis plants, though the rules will not initially extend to recreational users.
There May Be Limited Availability at First
It’s worth remembering that just because legal cannabis sales can commence on the 1st of January, this doesn’t mean there will suddenly be an enormous network of cannabis stores open on the first day. Instead, it could take weeks or months for a sizeable network to be established.
Medical Cannabis Will Still be Cheaper
One of the biggest incentives of obtaining a medical cannabis card in Illinois is the guarantee of affordable cannabis. Not only is all medical-grade cannabis of guaranteed quality and purity, it also tends to sell for a significantly lower price.If you can qualify for a medical cannabis card in Illinois, you should probably get one.
Finding a Place to Smoke Could be Tricky
The consumption of cannabis in all public places will be strictly forbidden across the state. If you own your own home, you will be permitted to consume cannabis on your premises, just as long as it is out of public sight. If you are a tenant, you will need to receive the permission of the landlord to smoke cannabis. If you are a visitor and planning to stay in a hotel or apartment, you may find it very difficult to pinpoint a place you can legally smoke pot. Airbnb being a better accommodation option.
You’ll Be Punished for Breaking the Rules
Last but not least, lawmakers in Illinois have repeatedly emphasized their commitment to ensuring all existing and upcoming cannabis laws are obeyed.In the in event that possession, consumption, cultivation or distribution rules are breached, the party responsible could still face heavy fines, or even imprisonment. Long story short, they want visitors and residents to know that the new legislation doesn’t give them the green light to do whatever they want. You’ll still be expected to play by the rules, or be punished accordingly.