If you're going to be traveling through O'Hare or Midway airports this holiday season to a state where recreational marijuana is legal, it's important to understand that when you're in a Chicago area airport, you're governed by Illinois law. That means that if you purchased some marijuana in one of the states where recreational cannabis is legal, you can't bring it back with you unless you want to risk a less-than-welcoming homecoming.
The number of people in Illinois who use medical marijuana has risen by a whopping 83 percent just this year. According to numbers reported this month by the state, over 46,000 people are in the state's medical marijuana program. It's roughly a $12,000 per month business, and growers in the state are increasing their crop production. The number of Illinois physicians who are allowed to certify patients for medical marijuana use increased from 2,100 to 3,000 in the past year.
Last month, Governor Bruce Rauner signed the Alternatives to Opioids Act. The new law lets Illinois physicians authorize patients whom they'd normally prescribe opioids for pain relief to legally obtain and use medical marijuana instead.
Recreational use of marijuana is illegal in Illinois, even though it has spread to states like Colorado and Washington. Voters in nearby Michigan will soon get to decide if they want to approve the same type of use.
Compared to some states, Illinois has fairly relaxed marijuana laws. While possession of 10 grams or less is still illegal within the state, getting caught is just a civil infraction, not even a misdemeanor. The maximum fine is $200 and you will not go to jail. It's more like a traffic ticket than anything else.