Rauner Signs Bill Reducing Pot Penalties

July 29, 2016
In this Sept. 15, 2015 file photo, marijuana grows at the Ataraxia medical marijuana cultivation center in Albion, Ill. Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner is working with Illinois police on how to handle a law change making marijuana possession in small am

In this Sept. 15, 2015 file photo, marijuana grows at the Ataraxia medical marijuana cultivation center in Albion, Ill. Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner is working with Illinois police on how to handle a law change making marijuana possession in small amounts punishable only with fines under a bill awaiting action by him.

Seth Perlman/Associated Press

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed legislation that makes marijuana possession in small amounts punishable only with fines and no jail time.  A state official with knowledge of the governor's decision told The Associated Press the bill was signed Friday. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the signing had not been announced yet.

The signing was also annouced by the Marijuana Policy Project in a press release.

“We applaud Gov. Rauner and the legislature for replacing Illinois’s needlessly draconian marijuana possession law with a much more sensible policy," said Chris Lindsey, Senior Legislative Counsel.  "This common sense legislation will prevent countless citizens from having their lives turned upside down by a marijuana possession arrest."

The new law means possessing 10 grams of pot or less will be a civil offense punishable with a fine of up to $200. The governor's signature makes Illinois the 17th state - and the third largest - to treat possession of marijuana in small amounts as a civil offense rather than a criminal one.
 
The legislation also sets a standard for what's considered too high to drive.

Story source: AP