Despite the legislative and cultural strides cannabis has made within the past 3-4 years, the U.S. still has a long way to go towards establishing full medical and recreational cannabis access to its citizens. Currently, hundreds of thousands of non-violent marijuana offenders are either incarcerated or are facing charges on federal and state levels for simple possession or use. With each passing day, the criminalization of cannabis makes less and less sense. Arguments like ‘it’s a gateway drug,’ ‘it’s harmful’ and ‘it increases crime’ are easily dismantled by the facts and yet, several states still insist on enforcing harsh penalties for cannabis. So, do yourself a favor and don’t get caught slipping in any of the following states.
The possession of any amount of cannabis results in a misdemeanor charge, with offenders facing up to 6 months of jail time. According to Norml,
A second offense is a Class I felony and is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and/or imprisonment for up to 3.5 years.
The state recently passed a medical law that only allows for the use of CBD products to treat severe conditions. But things might be looking up for the state, since Monona, a city in Dane County, Wisconsin just recently passed an ordinance removing all fines for marijuana possession and use in public or private spaces.
In Florida, recreational possession of “20 grams or less of cannabis is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum sentence of 1-year imprisonment and a maximum fine of $1,000.” Possession of more than 20 grams of marijuana “is a felony punishable by a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $5,000.”
Perhaps the harshest aspect of Florida’s law is that convictions result in automatic driver’s license suspensions for one year whether a vehicle was involved in the offense or not. Florida uses mandatory minimum sentencing, which at its worst, can incarcerate a peaceful marijuana smoker for life with no chance of parole.
Any amount of cannabis up to 2 lbs will land you with a Class 6 felony in the state of Arizona. A Class 6 felony is “punishable by a minimum sentence of 4 months, a maximum sentence of 2 years, and a maximum fine of $150,000,” states Norml.
Don’t even consider selling or cultivating, as that can land you a minimum sentence of 1-2 years for less than 2lbs and a maximum of 12.5 years for more than 4 lbs. It’s only saving grace is that the state does allow for conditional release or alternative sentencing for first offenders. This converts jail time to probation, and then a lesser charge may be issued if the defendant successfully completes his or her probation.
Possession in Indiana of any amount is a misdemeanor with 180 days jail time. Second offenses garner up to 1-year imprisonment and a maximum $5,000 fine. This state also allows for conditional release and alternative sentencing for first offenses.
The state has passed its own medical CBD law to allow for medicinal use and allows for research and sale of hemp products.