Marijuana laws in the United States are changing rapidly. Currently, Washington D.C and eight states have legalized the sale and possession of marijuana for recreational purposes while many others, including Illinois, allow the consumption of cannabis as treatment for certain medical conditions. In Illinois, it is still illegal for those without a medical marijuana registration card to possess, purchase, use, or sell marijuana. There are many myths regarding marijuana and its legality which Illinois citizens should be aware of.
Myth 1: It Is Legal to Drive Under the Influence of Marijuana If You Are a Registered Medical User
Some people think that if they are in a state where recreational marijuana is legal or they have their medical marijuana ID card that they are able to smoke marijuana in a car. This is absolutely not the case. Although there has been considerably less research about the effects of marijuana use on driving abilities than the effects of alcohol impairment, it is still considered dangerous and reckless to drive under the influence of cannabis. [BW1]
Myth 2: Police Must Tell You If They Are Police
Many of society’s misconceptions about drug laws come from television and movies. One of these myths is that if a police officer is undercover or otherwise not immediately identifiable as an officer of the law, that he or she must confess their identity if asked directly. In movies, this usually involves a character saying something along the lines of “Are you a cop? If you are, you have to tell me.” Citizens need to be aware of that this is completely false. Police are authorized to lie in order to keep themselves or others safe from danger, to prevent a crime from occurring, or to find sources of criminal activity. Police often pose as drug dealers or other criminals in order to bring offenders to justice in sting operations or investigations.
Myth 3: Officers Must Have a Warrant to Search Your Car If They Suspect It Contains Marijuana
The Fourth Amendment to the U.S Constitution protects citizens from unreasonable search and seizure, however, motor vehicles are not protected from searches the way a home or business is. In order to search a person’s vehicle, police must only have probable cause. This can include things the officer sees, hears, or smells. If an officer smells marijuana or smoke from a car, he or she is authorized to search it.
Facing Drug Charges?
Although Illinois has decriminalized the possession of up to ten grams of marijuana, there are still stiff penalties for those caught using, selling, or purchasing marijuana illegally. If you have been charged with a drug crime, contact an experienced Elgin criminal defense lawyer for help today. Call 847-488-0889 for a free consultation at The Law Offices of Brian J. Mirandola.