Senate Week in Review: New Laws Edition, Part III

As a new year begins, Illinois residents may be interested to learn about several notable new laws that take effect January 1.

The new laws kicking off 2020 cover everything from recreational cannabis sales, to ensuring children are receiving adequate healthcare.

Recreational cannabis sales begin January 1

Starting January 1, Illinois will join 10 other states and the District of Columbia in allowing the purchase and use of recreational cannabis. 

Once the New Year begins, Illinois residents ages 21 and older can buy and possess up to 30 grams of cannabis or 5 grams of concentrate from a licensed dispensary. Out-of-state residents will only be able to purchase up to 15 grams of cannabis or 2.5 grams of concentrate. Furthermore, medical marijuana cardholders will be allowed to grow up to five plants.

Although sales will begin January 1, the number of locations at which consumers will be able to purchase cannabis products will be limited for several months. That’s because the state is currently only approving recreational licenses for existing medical cannabis dispensaries. The state will begin to award licenses for new business owners later in the year.

As of December 11, 30, medical dispensaries had been approved to sell recreational cannabis starting January 1. However, the new law allows local municipalities to deny the sale of recreational cannabis within their jurisdiction. Therefore, depending on local ordinance, not all approved medical dispensaries will be allowed to sell cannabis for recreational use.

As a reminder from law enforcement agencies, public consumption and driving under the influence of cannabis are still illegal.

New laws ensure children receive proper healthcare

Ensuring children get the medical care they deserve is the goal of several new laws taking effect on January 1.

School-aged children who are registered as medical cannabis patients will be allowed to take their medication at school under Senate Bill 455/PA 101-0370. This new law requires all schools, under the supervision of a school nurse or administrator, to administer medical cannabis to qualifying patients while on school premises or at a school-sponsored activity. The product must be stored with the school nurse at all times and only accessible to themselves or an administrator.

Also, starting January 1, insurance companies will be required to provide coverage for EpiPen injectors for children. EpiPen is the brand name of a device that delivers the drug epinephrine, which is a life-saving medication used when someone is experiencing a severe allergic reaction. House Bill 3435/PA 101-0281 requires companies offering health insurance policies in Illinois to pay for these devices as long as they are deemed “medically necessary” for the child.

And in an effort to prevent infant deaths caused by Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), coroners will have to follow stricter requirements following an investigation. Often, infant deaths are attributed to SIDS, even when there are several unsafe factors present at the scene where the infant passed that could have contributed to the death. Senate Bill 1568/PA 101-0338 requires coroners to fill out a form listing any environmental factors pertinent to the infant’s death. It requires the Department of Public Health to use that information to publish materials concerning SIDS.

New laws address sexual misconduct 

Laws addressing sexual misconduct are among those that will take effect January 1.

House Bill 2135/PA 101-0130 removes the statute of limitations for criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual assault, and aggravated criminal sexual abuse. This new law allows victims to press charges at any time after the incident occurred. Previously, victims had to come forward within 10 years of the offense.

Also, at the start of the New Year, schools will have to follow some new requirements. Under Senate Bill 1798/PA 101-0418, school districts must create, implement, and maintain an age-appropriate sexual harassment policy, post it on their websites, and include it in their student handbooks. Under House Bill 3550/PA 101-0579, sex education classes must include an age-appropriate discussion on the meaning of consent. 

The full list of January 1 new laws

There’s more to know as 2020 kicks off! To view a full list of laws taking effect January 1, visit Senator Fowler’s website.

Dale Fowler

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