SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- Marijuana possession in small amounts in Illinois will be punishable by fines but not jail time after Gov. Bruce Rauner signed legislation Friday that makes the state the third largest to decriminalize minor pot offenses.

The new law, which takes effect immediately, makes having 10 grams or less of marijuana will be a civil offense, punishable with a fine of up to $200.

The Republican governor had been expected to sign the bill because it included language he requested after vetoing similar legislation last year.

In his message to lawmakers at the time, Rauner said that existing penalties for petty marijuana offenses were too severe and that "criminal prosecution of cannabis possession is also a drain on public resources."

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Ivan Moreno ~ Associated Press ~

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