CHICAGO — Cannabis becomes legal in Illinois on Jan. 1 — and yes, you will be able to smoke it in your backyard.
Though there’s been some confusion around the laws and what will and won’t be prosecuted, Chicagoans will be able to smoke weed in their backyards and on their back porches, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and interim Chicago Police Supt. Charlie Beck clarified in a statement Wednesday.
Though the state law does technically prohibit weed use in those areas, Lightfoot and Beck said the Chicago Police Department won’t arrest or ticket people under those circumstances since they pose “no direct threat to public safety.”
“Righting this city’s generation-old wrongs and overturning the unjust cannabis enforcement laws of our past has been at the heart of our efforts since day one, which is why we’ve taken the important step forward in reducing overly punitive fines and fees for minor cannabis violations by passing a smart, sensible and safe cannabis enforcement ordinance that truly prioritizes public safety of all residents in this city,” the two said in a statement.
Chicago Police officers are being trained on how to enforce the new law, and that training includes guidance on using their discretion to educate Chicagoans on new cannabis regulations rather than simply ticketing them, Lightfoot and Beck said.
The Chicago Police Department released an informational video on cannabis use on Wednesday, reminding Chicagoans they won’t be able to smoke weed on public transportation, at restaurants or in public areas like front porches. Landlords will be able to ban cannabis use in private homes, too.