With the legalization of cannabis constantly on the courts’ dockets, it can be difficult to stay abreast of legal changes concerning it. Some states allow it, some states will give you a smack on the wrist, and a small number of states will ensure you never venture past their borders with cannabis in tow. How can you tell the lenient states from the less-than-tolerant ones? Here’s a list of five states you definitely don’t want to get caught with marijuana in.
Get picked up for marijuana possession in the Lone Star State, and you certainly won’t be alone. Each year, Texas is responsible for approximately 12 percent of all marijuana-related arrests across the United States. And getting caught with marijuana anywhere in Texas can result in hefty punishments. According to the Law Office of Eric Harron, while actual prosecution varies from county to county, simple possession of any amount less than 2 ounces can land you in jail for up to 180 days and may come along with fines of up to $2000.
You might think this vast desert expanse is the perfect place to hide out and to get high, but think again. Arizona has some of the strictest laws in the country governing the possession and sale of marijuana. Currently, while medical weed is legal, recreational possession of any amount of cannabis—even just one gram—is considered a felony in the Grand Canyon State, as is possession of anything you might use to ingest it. Get caught with cannabis here, and you could face a minimum of four months in jail and fines of up to $150,000. However, Arizona state law prohibits jail time for first- and second-time non-violent drug convictions.
The Sunshine State’s views about marijuana possession aren’t so sunny, either. As Richard Hornsby explains, in Florida, possession of 20 grams or more is considered a felony and is punishable by a maximum of five years in jail and fines of up to $5000. While the state recently legalized marijuana for medical use, any recreational amount less than 20 grams is considered a misdemeanor. Get caught with even a few grams in Florida, and you could be charged with misdemeanor possession and receive a fine of up to $1000.
Get caught with marijuana in the Sooner State, and you’ll be in jail sooner than you can argue your case. Possession of any amount of marijuana in Oklahoma is punishable by up to one year in jail and fines of up to $1000. Authorities can also convict you for possession of any trace amounts of the drug or for related paraphernalia, including ashes and even left-over residue in smoking devices.
The Indiana Lawyer says that both medical and recreational marijuana are still illegal in Indiana, making it one of the few states that has yet to budge on regulations surrounding the plant. Getting caught with any amount of marijuana in the Hoosier State is punishable by up to 180 days in jail and fines of up to $1000. If you have prior drug offenses, get ready to face up to a year in jail and fines of up to $5000.
While laws surrounding the possession of medical and recreational cannabis are constantly in flux, it’s important to stay abreast of any changes. Whether you live in a state where marijuana is still illegal or you’re just passing through, knowledge is the key to staying safe. You can still enjoy the relaxing and therapeutic effects of this widely used plant — just do it in a location where you won’t be prosecuted!
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