Frequently Asked Questions

Are you interested in the history of cannabis in Illinois? Click here to learn more.


How to shop at a dispensary?

As long as you are over 21 and possess a valid ID, you can enter a dispensary (that is licensed to sell recreational cannabis) and make a purchase.

Some dispensaries have online menus, be sure to research before you go so that you have an idea of what they offer.

The law defines valid ID as “ valid identification”

(1) Be valid and unexpired;

(2) Contain a photograph and the date of birth of the person.

What are the acceptable forms of payment?

Most dispensaries are cash only businesses. Some have ATM’s onsite. Some dispensaries accept debit cards for a small fee.

Call the location that you plan to visit ahead of time to confirm their accepted forms of payment.

What are the possession limits in Illinois?

If you are a resident of Illinois you can possess 30 grams of flower, in addition to 5 grams of concentrate, in addition to 500mg of edibles. In other words, according to the law, you could theoretically walk around with 30 grams of flower, 5 grams of concentrate, and 5-100mg candy bars in your back pack.

If you are not a resident of Illinois, you can possess 15 grams of flower, in addition to 2.5 grams of concentrate, in addition to 250mg of edibles. In other words, according to the law, you could theoretically walk around with 15 grams of flower, 2.5 grams of concentrate, 2-100mg candy bars, and a 50mg drink in your back pack.

As a medical cannabis patient in Illinois*, your possession limit/allotment is listed on your medical cannabis card. Keep your medical cannabis card in your possession when possessing of cannabis.

Below is language from the law:

Section 10-10. Possession limit.(a) Except if otherwise authorized by this Act, for a
person who is 21 years of age or older and a resident of this State, the possession limit is as follows: (1) 30 grams of cannabis flower; (2) no more than 500 milligrams of THC contained in cannabis-infused product; (3) 5 grams of cannabis concentrate; and (4) for registered qualifying patients, any cannabis produced by cannabis plants grown under subsection (b) of Section 10-5, provided any amount of cannabis produced in excess of 30 grams of raw cannabis or its equivalent must remain secured within the residence or residential property in which it was grown.

Where am I not allowed to possess cannabis?

You may NOT possess cannabis:

-On any federal land within Illinois, such as national park service areas

-In section 8 government-funded housing

-In parks, recreation areas, wildlife areas, or playgrounds owned (in whole or part) leased, or managed by the state

-Traveling across state borders

Am I allowed to possess cannabis that was not purchased from a dispensary?

An adult possessing cannabis within their possession limits is considered lawful in the state of Illinois. Some police organizations have been making social media posts and public statements claiming that “the only legal cannabis that you can possess must be purchased from the dispensary.” The simple fact is that this is not accurate. The language of the bill said that there is no civil or criminal offense for someone who possesses cannabis within the possession limit. [Answer from Kelvin McCabe, Attorney that is on the Illinois NORML Board of Directors] If law enforcement asks where you obtained your legal cannabis, politely and firmly decline to discuss where it came from; where your legal cannabis came from is NOT relevant, you are legally allowed to possess cannabis.

You may NOT possess cannabis:

-On any federal land within Illinois, such as national park service areas

-In section 8 government-funded housing

-In parks, recreation areas, wildlife areas, or playgrounds owned (in whole or part) leased, or managed by the state

-Traveling across state borders

When buying weed in IL, I know that I’ll have to show your ID. Does the dispensary record the purchaser’s names and address in a database?

By law, a cannabis dispensary can not share a consumer’s personal information, unless the consumer authorizes them, to anyone or any entity. Also:

To protect personal privacy, the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation shall not require a purchaser to provide a dispensing organization with personal information other than government-issued identification to determine the purchaser’s age, and a dispensing organization shall not obtain and record personal information about a purchaser without the purchaser’s consent. A dispensing organization shall use an electronic reader or electronic scanning device to scan a purchaser’s government-issued identification, if applicable, to determine the purchaser’s age and the validity of the identification.

Any identifying or personal information of a purchaser obtained or received in accordance with this Section shall not be retained, used, shared or disclosed for any purpose except as authorized by this Act.

How do I legally transport cannabis in a motor vehicle within the state of Illinois?

To be completely transparent, it is being argued that the law needs to be clearer with regard to how comply with the law with regards to legally transporting cannabis within the state of Illinois. Generally speaking, it seems that adults can possess cannabis in their motor vehicle IF: it is in a sealed, odor-proof, child-resistant container. Most people are saying that you should transport cannabis in the same way that you [generally] transport a firearm; which seems to generally mean out of arms reach by the driver of the vehicle.

The language out of the law reads: Sec. 11-502.15. Possession of adult use cannabis in a motor vehicle. (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 sealed, odor-proof, child-resistant cannabis container. (c) No passenger may possess cannabis within any passenger area of any motor vehicle upon a highway in this State except in a sealed, odor-proof, child-resistant cannabis container. (d) Any person who knowingly violates subsection (a), (b), or (c) of this Section commits a Class A misdemeanor.

Where can I legally enjoy cannabis?

Kelvin McCabe, from the board of directors in the Illinois Chapter of NORML said: There is a prohibition on public consumption, however, we do not know how this will be enforced. Prior to this bill passing, a lot of different jurisdictions had created ordinance violations for cannabis use in public, so we assume, if jurisdictions will enforce public consumption at all, it will be similar to getting a traffic ticket. There is not a specific penalty within the legalization statute that sets a penalty for public consumption. To be clear, the statute DOES prohibit consumption, however it does not go into detail what the repercussion of public consumption are. In short, it is illegal to consume it in public but there doesn’t seem to be a clear penalty for that type of activity yet.

There are however, rules in place for certain contexts in which cannabis consumption is definitely illegal. This includes inside of a motor vehicle, within the vicinity of minors. There is not a legal definition for what is considered a legal vicinity to consume in the presence of minors, so tread carefully.

We expect there to be changes/tweaks to the law. The reality of the matter is that people will consume in public. Especially considering the fact that the bill that legalized cannabis included a measure that made public consumption lounges legal.

Specifically, can I smoke on my porch/backyard?

According to Kelvin McCabe, who serves on the Board of Directors for the Illinois chapter of NORML, it depends which city you are in. For example, the mayor of the city of the Chicago has instructed Chicago PD not to bother a citizen that is enjoying cannabis on their front or back porch.

The reason we cannot give you a clear answer on whether or not this action is lawful, is because it is currently being debated. It seems that the law is not very clear, because on one hand, it says that you must use cannabis in a place that you cannot be observed by general public, but on the other hand, public consumption lounges are legally permissible. So it is a grey area that will have to be addressed. The safe answer is that it depends on the city that you are in

Specifically, can I smoke in my apartment?

The answer depends on the agreement that you have with your landlord. Typically, you cannot smoke cannabis in your apartment if your landlord has a policy against smoking cigarettes. Property owners reserve the right to set their own policies with regard to smoking cannabis onsite. Safe answer: ask your landlord if you are allowed to smoke cannabis in your apartment

Here is an excerpt from the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act that gives them this right

Nothing in this Act may be construed to require any person or establishment in lawful possession of property to allow a guest, client, lessee, customer, or visitor to use cannabis on or in that property, including on any land owned in whole or in part or managed in whole or in part by the State

Can I legally grow my own cannabis?

Only patients that are registered in the Illinois Medical Cannabis program are allowed to grow. Patient must be 21 years old in order to legally grow. Cannabis plants shall not be stored or placed in a location where they are subject to ordinary public view, as defined in this Act. A registered qualifying patient who cultivates cannabis under this Section shall take reasonable precautions to ensure the plants are secure from unauthorized access, including unauthorized access by a person under 21 years of age.

On June 25, 2019, Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (HB1438-SFA2) into law. The law took effect on January 1, 2020:

Cannabis cultivation may occur only on residential property lawfully in possession of the cultivator or with the consent of the person in lawful possession of the property. An owner or lessor of residential property may prohibit the cultivation of cannabis by a lessee. (6) (Blank). (7) A dwelling, residence, apartment, condominium unit, enclosed, locked space, or piece of property not divided into multiple dwelling units shall not contain more than 5 plants at any one time. (8) Cannabis plants may only be tended by registered qualifying patients who reside at the residence, or their authorized agent attending to the residence for brief periods, such as when the qualifying patient is temporarily away from the residence. (9) A registered qualifying patient who cultivates more than the allowable number of cannabis plants, or who sells or gives away cannabis plants, cannabis, or cannabis-infused products produced under this Section, is liable for penalties as provided by law, including the Cannabis Control Act, in addition to loss of home cultivation privileges as established by rule.

An adult who is not a registered medical cannabis patient that cultivates less than 5 plants is guilty of a civil violation punishable by a maximum fine of $200.

Possessing more than 5 – 20 plants is a Class 4 felony, punishable by a minimum sentence of 1 year and a maximum sentence of 3 years, as well as a fine of $25,000.

Possessing more than 20 – 50 plants is a Class 3 felony, punishable by a minimum sentence of 2 years and a maximum sentence of 5 years, as well as a fine of $25,000.

Possessing more than 50 – 200 plants is a Class 2 felony, which is punishable by a minimum jail term of 3 years and a maximum sentence of 7 years, along with a maximum fine of $100,000

Possessing more than 200 marijuana plants is a Class 1 felony, punishable by imprisonment of a minimum of 4 years and a maximum of 15 years, as well as a maximum fine of $100,000. Source: Illinois NORML

As a medical patient, can my caregiver tend to my plants?


As a medical patient, since I have the right to grow, can I buy seeds?

Yes. According to the law, “Adult registered qualifying patients may purchase cannabis seeds from a dispensary for the purpose of home cultivation. Seeds may not be given or sold to any other person.”

What taxes are due on sales of cannabis in the state of Illinois?

The Cannabis Cultivation Privilege Tax is a tax imposed upon the privilege of cultivating cannabis at the rate of 7% of the gross receipts from the first sale of adult use cannabis by a cultivator or craft grower.

The Medical Cannabis Cultivation Privilege Tax is a tax imposed upon the privilege of cultivating medical cannabis at the rate of 7% of the sales price per ounce.

The Cannabis Purchaser Excise Tax is a tax imposed on purchasers for the privilege of using cannabis, cannabis flower, cannabis concentrate, and cannabis-infused products. Cannabis dispensaries must collect and remit this tax on all retail sales of adult use cannabis.

The tax is imposed at the following rates:

-10% of taxable receipts from the sale of adult use cannabis, other than cannabis-infused products, sold with 35% THC or less,

-25% of taxable receipts from the sale of adult use cannabis, other than cannabis-infused products, sold with greater than 35% THC, and

-20% of taxable receipts from the sale of adult use cannabis-infused products.

Sales Tax: Both medical cannabis and adult use cannabis are subject to Retailers’ Occupation Tax.

Medical cannabis: Medical cannabis is subject to state and local retailers’ occupation taxes at the same rate as other qualifying drugs, i.e., 1% State Retailers’ Occupation Tax rate and is generally exempt from locally imposed retailers’ occupation taxes (except for Regional Transportation Authority and Metro-East Transit District retailers’ occupation taxes).

Adult use cannabis: Adult use cannabis is subject to the 6.25% State Retailers’ Occupation Tax as well as local retailers’ occupation taxes in the same manner as other general merchandise. In addition, counties and municipalities may impose, by ordinance, a local retailers’ occupation tax on all persons engaged in the business of selling adult use cannabis at retail in the municipality or county on the gross receipts from sales of adult use cannabis (medical cannabis is excluded from these local cannabis-specific taxes). The rate imposed under the Municipal Cannabis Retailers’ Occupation Tax may not exceed 3%. The County Cannabis Retailers’ Occupation Tax may not exceed 3.75% in unincorporated areas of the county and 3% in a municipality located in the county.

Guns and cannabis

There are rumors floating around that you cannot possess guns, or that your FOID/CCL can be revoked because of your cannabis use. This is not true. However, we should note that the Illinois State Police have stated that reserve the right to revoke a FOID/CCL in cases of “abuse”/”habitual use”. Note: According to u/PhreakofTime, Illinois Law defines “Habitual” as 3 or more class X offenses of the same type. Addiction requires the same proof, with a deposition given by a mental health care professional, or records of your own incarceration in a mental health facility for addiction. u/PhreakofTime added that “if you are a found to be a habitual user of cannabis you’ve violated some pretty serious laws already, and are probably in jail for a really long time. Your access to firearms is going to be the least of your concerns.”

One fact that I can report, is that if you are a registered medical cannabis patient, you will be unable to purchase a firearm from an FFL as you will fail the federal background check.

Read more here

Substance abuse issues? Need help?

We advocate for the responsible use of cannabis. If you feel that you have a problem (ie addiction) involving cannabis, I encourage you to check out r/petioles for a realistic perspective on cannabis. Cannabis is NOT for everybody, but it’s also NOT “the devil’s lettuce”. Adults can choose to use it responsibly, or not. We encourage you to do whatever you are comfortable with.

If I am a non-citizen of the United States, am I allowed to purchase cannabis? I am aware that cannabis is considered illegal by federal law

Technically, as long as you have a valid ID and are over 21, yes, you are allowed to purchase cannabis. I want to be very forward, I am seeing a lot of people, including the State of Illinois, that are recommending non-citizens to consult with their immigration attorney before they purchase legal cannabis. This is a situation in which it is better to be safe than sorry, in my opinion.

Acquiring a Medical Cannabis Card

To qualify for a medical cannabis card in the state of Illinois, you must have a qualifying condition. List of qualifying conditions is here (Illinois Department of Health website) The state also recently instituted an Opioid alternative program, see more info here Visit The Medical Cannabis Community for more information on how to obtain your cannabis card in the state of Illinois

Gifting Cannabis—Is it Legal?

We consulted with a boardmember of NORML to formulate my interpretation of the law with regards to gifting cannabis

So you’re best buddy has a birthday coming up and you ask yourself

“Can I buy them a joint? I think they would like that as a birthday present”

The answer is a yes, with a few conditions.

-The party receiving gifts must be 21

-The gift must not exceed the total allowed in the possession limit.

If you look in the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, which the tax and regulate bill amended, there is a section entitled ‘casual delivery’. Casual delivery is defined as delivering cannabis to another with no money exchanging hands. The law stipulates that the penalty for casual delivery is the penalty for possession. The penalty for possession are as follows:

-30G or less = No Penalty. No incarcertation time. Max fine of $0.

-More than 30-100g (first offense) = Misdemeanor, with incarceration time of 1 year, and max fines of $2,500

-More than 30-100g(subsequent offense) = felony, with incarceration time between 1-3 years, and maximum fine of $25,000

Read more information about the penalty for possession at NORML and other penalties.

To be clear: If you are a medical cannabis patient you cannot gift cannabis that you purchased from a dispensary. This is medical cannabis that was alloted to you. “Deferring” medical cannabis, as I understand it, is illegal, for all intents and purposes.

(720 ILCS 550/6) (from Ch. 56 1/2, par. 706)
Sec. 6.
Any delivery of cannabis which is a casual delivery shall be treated in all respects as possession of cannabis for purposes of penalties.
(Source: P.A. 77-758)

Additional Resources

FAQ from Illinois Department of Human Services

Go to to read the official FAQ that was created by the Illinois state Department of Human Services. This will tell you what is legal and what’s not, what you need to know about cannabis use, and safety tips for parents and expecting moms from the perspective of the state of Illinois.

View more here


The Illinois chapter of NORML and NORML can be thanked for a majority of the content found within our FAQ. Visit to find out information about your local NORML chapter.

View more here

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