Where is weed illegal in America?
Can you still get into trouble for simple possession of marijuana?
Sadly the answer is yes.
Headlines these days in the USA are filled with news of “marijuana legalization.”
What this really means is marijuana has been regulated, and heavily regulated, in certain states. And in fact, over half the country now enjoys some form of cannabis legalization.
That said, not every state is enlightened.
Believe it or not, there are still states who remain stubbornly in the dark ages. In these backwards places even tiny amounts of marijuana can result in jail time!
Those who love to travel and who also love cannabis would do themselves a favor to route their journeys around the 19 states listed at the end of this article.
Where Is Weed Illegal in America: New Report Examines Old Laws
The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) just came out with a new report that examines the current laws that lag the furthest behind public opinion.
The report covers the 19 states stubbornly holding on to Draconian marijuana laws, along with the federal government who remains similarly stuck.
Neither the feds, nor these states, have “decriminalized” even simple possession of cannabis.
To make matters even more maddening, majority support for legalizing marijuana exists in every one of the states where cannabis possession remains criminalized.
Americans Are Still Being Arrested for Marijuana
Overall, several hundred thousand Americans are still arrested for violating states’ marijuana laws every year. Over nine in ten of those arrested are charged with marijuana possession offenses, not sales or trafficking.
Regardless of the charges, ANY cannabis arrest can turn into a stressful and expensive ordeal. If you are arrested you can expect at minimum fines, court appearances, and/or community service, and attorney fees. That’s the best case scenario.
In the worst case scenario, getting caught, even as a first time offender, with even tiny amounts of cannabis in one of the 19 states below can land you in jail!
Some Progress in Some States Where Marijuana Is Illegal
Some of the states that made the “Dirty 19” list have made some progress.
Florida is a good example.
Florida offers residents a robust medical marijuana program. You can find well stocked first rate marijuana dispensaries in Florida. IF and ONLY IF you are a MEDICAL marijuana patient with a doctor prescribed medical marijuana card.
However, if you get caught with even a little bit of cannabis without one of these cards you can potentially be facing serious consequences.
Currently in Florida, possession of 20 grams or less of cannabis carries a penalty of one year imprisonment and a fine of up to $1,000. Possessing over 20 grams -- that’s less than 1 ounce for those who are counting, is a felony offense punishable with a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment and up to a $5,000 fine!
Others states could not care less your doctor doctor says you should use medical marijuana. The ignorant law makers in those states have instead decided to play doctor and decide for you.
In these places you can face jail time for possession of ANY marijuana, even if you are a first time offender (I’m looking at you Kansas, Iowa, Indiana and others).
Where Is Weed Illegal In America: 19 States to Avoid Traveling To
It’s important to know before traveling what kind of potential problems your cannabis use might land you in.
You might even choose to avoid states that still stubbornly enforce these ridiculous laws. After all, why spend travel dollars in places that would see you behind bars for using a benevolent and healing plant?
The report can help you assess if it’s worth the risk as it takes a deep dive into the penalties for simple possession, arrest rates, and provides a glimpse at some of the damage inflicted on citizens in states that stupidly choose to use their limited law enforcement resources to arrest and jail adults for possessing cannabis.
Sadly, race matters, as people of color color are consistently arrested at significantly higher rates than caucasians.
The Wall of Shame: US States Where Marijuana Is Illegal
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia