Illinois has a long fought the manufacture, marketing and use of synthetic marijuana. In our article Chicago Cracks Down on Retailers Selling Synthetic Drugs, we mentioned that the city was among the first to make it a criminal offense to sell the drug and that the state was not far behind. A law that went into effect on Jan. 1, 2016, takes these laws a couple of steps further.
The new law reclassifies these drugs as schedule 1 controlled substances based on their chemical makeup. Schedule 1 drugs are drugs that have no medical value, have a high potential for abuse and are considered unsafe. LSD and heroin, for example, are schedule 1 drugs.
It's worth noting that the list is determined by the General Assembly, not the federal government and not the medical community. Federal law certainly informs lawmakers as they decide which drugs to outlaw, as does input from the medical community, but a schedule 1 drug in Illinois may not be a schedule 1 drug in, say Colorado. The best example here is recreational marijuana.
Because these are the most dangerous drugs by the state's definition, the manufacture, distribution and possession of a schedule 1 drug are felonies in Illinois. A conviction carries both prison time and a fine, with years and dollars dependent on the particular drug and the amount of the drug involved in the crime.
The Chicago Tribune reported recently that synthetic marijuana and other "fake" drugs are becoming popular among teens and college-age young adults. Illinois is home to many community programs that offer support to teens and their families. Don't forget, though, that a criminal defense attorney can be a valuable resource -- and ally -- as well.
Source: "New Illinois law aims to protect people from harms of synthetic drugs," Shara Taylor, Jan. 24, 2016