We all know where marijuana is legal and illegal in the United States. But where is it more illegal than other places? There are some states, however, that still treat marijuana like cocaine, heroin, and other drugs, despite research dispelling common misconceptions about the use of cannabis and its application to modern medicine. Many lists of this nature have been drawn up. Here is a compilation of the 10 worst states to get caught with marijuana.
While legislation to legalize marijuana was introduced here in 2016, it never even made it out of the committee process, which means that possession of less than one ounce of marijuana can still lead to a six-month jail sentence and a $1,000 fine.
While patients with intractable epilepsy can possess low-THC cannabis oil, they can still be arrested for it, though not necessarily penalized with jail time. This is happening despite a 2015 Quinnipiac poll that showed 86 percent of Virginia voters support legalization.
Arizona, another state with legal MMJ, but don’t get caught without your rec card or you could be slapped with a felony. Getting nabbed with even small amounts of weed can land you in jail from four months to two years.
As Florida continues to struggle with its MMJ industry, people caught with less than 20 grams of weed are still getting arrested. Although considered a misdemeanor, a marijuana arrest is never good on one’s record. Possessing more than than 20 grams could result in a third degree felony charge, which carries up to five years in prison.
Georgia has some protections for small amounts of marijuana possession, but more than two ounces can lead to a sentence of up to 10 years.
Iowa’s laws are probably the harshest for first time possession offenders. As little as a single joint can be punished with up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
The law here indicates that possession of three ounces or less is considered a misdemeanor, but it carries a maximum punishment of one year in prison and a $1,000 fine; ditto for paraphernalia. Last year, a bill was passed that would have protected the seriously ill from conviction for possessing MMJ oil with teeny amounts of THC, but Governor Butch Otter vetoed it.
In addition to strict rules against possession, Louisiana also has possibly the harshest cultivation punishments in the United States. Any distribution or cultivation under 60 pounds, and that includes just one single marijuana plant, can lead to five to 30 years in prison and/or a $50,000 fine. For growing ONE plant.
Indiana has some messed up priorities when it comes to marijuana and crime. Possession of even a single joint can lead to a year in prison and a $5,000 fine. Over 9,000 people were arrested in the state for marijuana offenses, 86 percent of which were for possession. Ironically, 90 percent of all burglaries and 85 percent of motor vehicle thefts went unsolved.
South Dakota is going under the radar with harsh marijuana laws. Possession of even a small amount of marijuana can lead to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine. But any possession of hash or concentrates can be punished by up to five years in prison and a fine up to $10,000. But it doesn’t even matter if the police arrest you with marijuana in your possession. Under South Dakota law, anyone who tests positive for past marijuana use can be punished under the same laws, even if that marijuana use occurred in a legal state. With possession of just 2 ounces being identified as a Class 1 misdemeanor under South Dakota law, “no person may knowingly possess marijuana” in any amount, and for no reason (medicinal or otherwise). Of the 13 states that have decriminalized recreational use of marijuana and the 46 with medical marijuana laws in place, South Dakota is one of the few left in total defiance. Even users from other states will be charged in the same way as anyone in possession of marijuana in this state, receiving penalties like a 90-day suspension of a person’s license if the substance is found in their vehicle. One report from Pierre, North Dakota reveals a cannabis user being forcibly catheterized after refusing to provide a urine sample to police, and recounts the experience as “degrading” and a violation of his rights.