ST. CHARLES – With recreational marijuana now legal in Illinois for adult use, the city of St. Charles is updating its ordinances to spell out the rules regarding recreational marijuana, including where recreational marijuana use is allowed.
At its meeting Monday, the St. Charles City Council approved revisions to its ordinances. The new state law – which went into effect Jan. 1 – allows Illinois residents 21 and older to possess up to 30 grams of marijuana per Illinois resident. Residents also will be able to possess 5 grams of cannabis concentrate and up to 500 milligrams of THC – the main psychoactive compound in marijuana that gives the high sensation – contained in a cannabis-infused product. Nonresidents can possess half those amounts.
Registered medical marijuana patients will be allowed to grow up to five cannabis plants in their home and possess more than 30 grams of cannabis if it is grown and secured in their residence under certain conditions.
The rules spell out that it is illegal for a person to use marijuana in a public place or car or smoke cannabis in any place where smoking is prohibited under the Smoke Free Illinois Act and in retail tobacco stores, as defined in the Smoke Free Illinois Act.
It is also illegal to use marijuana in close proximity to anyone under the age of 21, unless they are a registered medical cannabis patient under the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program Act. In addition, it is illegal for any person to possess or use marijuana in a private home that is used at any time to provide licensed child care or other similar social service care.
"If you transport cannabis, it has to be reasonably secured in a sealed, odor proof container and it needs to be reasonably inaccessible while the vehicle is moving," Police Chief James Keegan told aldermen last month at a City Council's Government Operations Committee meeting.
Fines range from $250 for the first offense to a maximum fine of $750 for subsequent offenses. Offenders also would have the opportunity to do community service.
Keegan also told aldermen that "if you see pipes and things that you think might be used to consume cannabis, they're allowed to be sold in gas stations and vape shops, so long as they are marketed for tobacco and are purchased by people who are over the age of 21."
"If it's cannabis-related paraphernalia, it has to be sold at a licensed dispensary by a certified employee," he said.
St. Charles 2nd Ward Alderman Rita Anne Payleitner noted the city's ordinance defines a public place as "any place where a person could reasonably be expected to be observed by others."
"So that's more than a park or a sidewalk," she said.
The ordinance states that, "It shall be unlawful for any person to use cannabis in or about any public place or places. As used in this chapter, 'public place' means any place where a person could reasonably be expected to be observed by others, including but not limited to all parts of buildings owned in whole or in part, or leased, by the state of Illinois, or the city of St. Charles or other public body, but does not include a private residence unless the private residence is used to provide licensed child care, foster care, or other similar social service care on the premises."
In response, Keegan said he knows the department will receive calls related to marijuana use.
"Your private property, your home, obviously you're safe there," Keegan said. "But if it can be viewed by someone and maybe you're offending someone based on the usage of it or the odor of it, we're going to get that call...We're going to do the best we can to enforce ordinances and laws, both in the letter and the spirit of the law."
That includes making sure people are not driving impaired.
"I don't care if it's alcohol or recreational adult use cannabis, there will be consequences," Keegan said.
Keegan address the state's new marijuana law in a video posted on the city's website, stcharlesil.gov.