SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Cahokia) continued to act as a champion of criminal justice reform by passing legislation today removing the enhanced penalties for possession of cannabis on school grounds that are no longer operational.

Belt’s legislation amends the Cannabis Control Act to provide that the enhanced penalties for cannabis delivery on school grounds do not apply when the violation occurs in or on the grounds of a building that was formerly designated as a school but is no longer operational.

“The enhanced penalties were enacted to protect children, which is something I care deeply about,”

Belt said. “Once a school has been shut down by an act of local government, however, it is no longer a school and perpetrators should be charged by the current laws of the land but without the enhancement.”

The current enhanced penalties of delivery of cannabis on school grounds are as follows:

  • Less than 2.5 grams: Class A misdemeanor
  • 2.5-10 grams: Class 4 felony and a fine not to exceed $50,000
  • 10 -30 grams: Class 3 felony and a fine not to exceed $50,000
  • 30-500 grams: Class 2 felony and a fine not to exceed $100,000
  • 500-2,000 grams: Class 1 felony and a fine not to exceed $200,000

“I have dedicated my life to advocating and championing the advancement of children,” Belt said. “I have written a children’s book that espouses safety and character education. I have created mentor programs to give back to the youth. I spent 18 years in law enforcement, the vast majority of which were dedicated in Juvenile Probation and Aftercare. As a lawmaker, I will always prioritize the safety of children.”

House Bill 160 passed both the Senate and the House and now awaits the governor’s signature.