Cannabis law in the United States has progressed so quickly that it can be easy to take things for granted. Yet while the newfound liberalization of cannabis law in nine states may quickly be taken for granted, there are still states in which it remains extremely illegal.
You would think a state famous for its vegetation – in this case, potatoes – would be a bit more welcoming to cannabis.
The Gem State laws deem the possession of three ounces or less to be punishable by a misdemeanor charge, resulting in up one year in prison and a $1,000 fine.
The state appears to be slowly moving in a different direction. The state government recently passed a new law that reduces from three years to one year the amount of time in the past a prospective officer may have smoked cannabis without seeing their pathway to certification blocked.
4. West Virgina
The heart of Appalachia also happens to be one of the biggest bummers in terms of its approach to cannabis.
An individual in the Mountain State found to be in possession of any amount of cannabis may be awarded up to six months in prison and a fine of up to $1,000.
Don’t expect things to change anytime soon: The state’s governor, Jim Justice, recently signaled that cannabis reform would not be among his top priorities in the state.
The Sunflower State echoes West Virginia in punitive measures, with individuals found with any amount of cannabis subject to 6 months in prison and a maximum $1,000 fine.
There is some hope on the horizon: The city council of Kansas City – the third-biggest city in the state – recently voted to put before the city’s voters a cannabis decriminalization measure.
2. South Dakota
The state that is the home of Mount Rushmore does not look kindly on cannabis use.
Individuals in the Mount Rushmore state – yes, that’s really what it’s called – who are found to be in possession of two ounces or less of cannabis may face a misdemeanor charge, punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000.
The stringent nature of its punishment aside, the southern Dakota may be beginning to change its tune on the issue: Last month, state lawmakers unveiled a new bill would do away with the possibility of a person with cannabis in their system being charged with a felony, a practice called ‘marijuana possession by ingestion.’ Not great, but it’s a start.
Finally, rounding out the list is the Hoosier state, in which individuals found possessing any amount of cannabis may be charged with a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
Problem is, if you have previous offenses, the consequences become worse: If an individual with a prior drug-related offense is found in possession of up to 30 grams of cannabis, they face up to one year in prison and a $5,000 fine.
In spite of its punitive approach, Indiana lawmakers have signaled that they are open to the possibility of passing a limited yet real medical cannabis bill.