QUINCY -- In a series of 13-1 votes, the Quincy City Council approved three ordinances on Monday evening that modifies the city's existing policies regarding recreational adult-use cannabis, which will officially be legalized in the state on Jan. 1, 2020.
"The issue of legalization of cannabis by the state has caused a lot of confusion," said Quincy Police Chief Rob Copley. "A lot of people are uncertain because of the different versions of the bill as to what is legal and what is not legal."
Under the new state law, Illinois residents can possess 30 grams, or about an ounce, of leaf or flower cannabis; 500 milligrams of THC which can be used in cannabis edible products such as brownies or gummy bears, and five grams of cannabis concentrate. Non-Illinois residents can possess up to half of those amounts.
Adults may also possess drug paraphernalia that is used when ingesting or using cannabis. It continues to be illegal for people under 21 years of age to be in possession of that drug paraphernalia, to have cannabis, to purchase cannabis or to have an adult buy recreational cannabis on their behalf. Copley said it is also illegal for minors to misrepresent their age when attempting to purchase cannabis.
Under the approved ordinances, minors found possessing cannabis or those who attempt to sell it to a minor could face fines up to $250 for the first offense, $400 for the second offense, $550 for the third offense and $700 for the fourth and subsequent offense.
Most violations will be processed through Quincy City Court, while other cases such as possession of more than the legal limit of cannabis will be handled by the Adams County state's attorney.
The ordinances approved on Monday make Quincy's ordinances align with the new state law, according to Copley.
Voting in favor of the ordinances were Aldermen Tonia McKiernan, D-1, Eric Entrup, R-1, Jeff Bergman, R-2, Dave Bauer, D-2, Jason Finney, R-3, Tom Ernst, R-3, Tony Sassen, R-4, Mike Rein, R-5, John Mast, R-5, Richie Reis, D-6, Katie Awerkamp, D-6, Benjamin Uzelac, D-7, and Jack Holtschlag, D-7. Alderman Mike Farha, R-4, was the lone nay vote on each of the ordinances.
One example of how the city's ordinances are mirroring the state law is new stance on how cannabis must be transported once purchased by a licensed dispensary. Last month, officials with Herbal Remedies Dispensary, 4440 Broadway, learned that their application for an adult-use dispensary license had been approved by the state. Herbal Remedies also operates a medical use dispensary in Quincy.
City officials say they expect a second company will seek to open an adult-use dispensary in Quincy in the near future.
When patrons leave with the dispensaries with their purchases, city ordinance and state law stipulates that it be transported in a sealed, odorless and child resistant container. It also must be inaccessible to those in the vehicle.
Copley said he would recommend that after leaving the dispensary that adult-use cannabis users lock their purchase in the vehicle's glove compartment or trunk until they reach their final destination.
"I will be encouraging officers, especially with the new laws and ordinances, to be slightly more forgiving for those who are transporting adult-use cannabis but not transporting it quite right," Copley said. "However, if there are other issues then we will still move forward on those. As long as they are not using it while driving then I hope common sense will rule the day."
Regarding consumption, the new city ordinances say that cannabis cannot be consumed or used on any public alley, public street or any parking lot. It also cannot be consumed at public events, in public parks, in a beer garden or at any open air seating at a bar or restaurant.