Illinois Possession of Anhydrous Ammonia

The Law – 720 ILCS 646/25

It is unlawful to knowingly engage in the possession, procurement, transportation, storage, or delivery of anhydrous ammonia or to attempt to engage in any of these activities or to assist another in engaging in any of these activities with the intent that the anhydrous ammonia be used to manufacture methamphetamine.

WHAT IS “ANHYDROUS AMMONIA”?

Anhydrous Ammonia, a type of fertilizer, is a chemical that contains Nitrogen and Hydrogen. The chemical are used to provide Nitrogen to growing plants. However, Anhydrous Ammonia is also commonly used in the manufacture of methamphetamine. Exposure to Anhydrous Ammonia vapors can lead to severe and permanent injuries and death.

In addition to laws against the possession of methamphetamine and its precursors, Illinois prohibits the possession and usage of Anhydrous Ammonia, a plant fertilizer, when it is used to manufacture methamphetamine. However, unlike methamphetamine or its precursors, the possession or usage of Anhydrous Ammonia is punished immediately as a Class 1 Felony, regardless of the amount possessed or used. This is due to the violate nature of the chemicals contained in Anhydrous Ammonia. As with other crimes involving methamphetamine components, the state must show that there was intent to use Anhydrous Ammonia to manufacture methamphetamine. In some instances, the intent to manufacture methamphetamine and the possession or usage of Anhydrous Ammonia can be easily connected with one another; while other times the state will have some difficulty in establishing that intent. Anhydrous Ammonia is a fertilizer which is often used to help plants and crops grow. Therefore, if a farmer was found to be in possession of the chemical, absent other indicia of methamphetamine manufacturing, the state will have a difficult time proving that the farmer intended to make methamphetamine. However, if an individual living in a high rise apartment building in a large city is found to be possessing Anhydrous Ammonia, a reasonable inference that the chemical was intended to be used to manufacture methamphetamine by the individual will arise.

Keeping in line with Illinois lawmakers’ strict stance on methamphetamine related offenses, Illinois law permits a person who has been convicted a second, or subsequent, time of possessing Anhydrous Ammonia with the intent to manufacture methamphetamine to be sentenced to double the jail time and be fined twice the amount than what would be the case in a first offense.

The Sentence

1st Offense

  • Class 1 Felony
  • 4 to 15 years in prison
  • Up to $25,000 fine

2nd or Subsequent Methamphetamine Related Offense

  • Class 1 Felony
  • 8 to 30 years in prison
  • Up to $50,000 fine

Probation Possible? –Yes, only if first offense and there have been no other prior violations under Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act.

Supervision Possible?
– No.

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