Glory, glory to the Ganja! Cannabis is now legal in the Golden State. Why is this such a big deal? Because California is the golden goose, the state that we needed in order to pave the pebble stones of possibilities. Without California on board, nationwide legalization would be all but impossible.
Of course, this doesn’t mean the work is done. Just because California has legalized, that doesn’t mean everyone’s minds will change overnight – Jeff Sessions is probably not sitting around in a pot circle right now giggling and munching on Fritos (he’s probably more of a Cheeto guy). But, having the largest population and the most electoral votes gives California pull. And they’re pulling for pot.
Even so, it’s not like you can saunter into Los Angeles and do whatever the heck you want. Cannabis is now legal there – and other places too – yet you can still get arrested for committing weed-related crimes. The West Coast may be 420-friendly, but there are rules!
So, what are some of the things that could land you in hot water when consuming marijuana in California and like-minded areas? They include the following:
Taking weed across state lines
Sure, cannabis is legal in California, Oregon, and Washington, states that form a nice little pattern on the US map. But can you go up and down I-5 with some G-13 in your pocket? Nope! It’s illegal to take pot across state lines; yes, even if you’re taking marijuana from one legal state into another. It’s something that’s hard to police, naturally. Cops can’t tell where you got your weed. But if you get caught with marijuana at the state line, you may have some explaining to do.
Consuming in public
Sure, you can legally imbibe in a handful of states, but you must do it in the privacy of your own home (or some sort of private residence). Some states are trying to change this – Colorado is looking into social clubs that give patrons the opportunity to imbibe in a bar-like setting. Nevada is also considering it. Both have been reluctant to go full throttle, however. No one wants to invite more scrutiny from the federal government by being the first to push the envelope.
Boarding a plane with cannabis
Mary Jane is not allowed to be your wingman – you can’t take her on an airplane, not even if you have a medical marijuana card. Yet, while technically illegal, policing pot is something that the TSA themselves admit to not doing very often. They’re concerned with keeping the people on the planes safe; they care little about whether or not the food cart is at risk of being devoured. There are some reports of people trying to board planes with marijuana in their carry-ons; they’ve been given the option of throwing it away or taking it home and returning sans cannabis.
Consuming inside a national park
Even if you live in a recreational state, you can’t imbibe on federal lands, including national parks. These lands are under the jurisdiction of the federal government, which means their rules apply.
Buying more than the legal limits
Every state has laws surrounding how much weed an individual is allowed to purchase on any given day. There are ways around this – jumping from store to store can help you fly under the radar, but that doesn’t make it legal. Still, stores track your ID to keep you from purchasing too much product at any one shop (yet even this isn’t always practiced). As discussed in a previous article, Colorado authorities just busted several budtenders in Denver who were selling to the same people multiple times a day in amounts well over the limits.
The daily limits mentioned above are aimed more at preventing sale than they are consumption – overdosing on weed isn’t a concern and if overindulging were really at the heart of the matter, then you’d think the government would be more concerned with limiting the amount of alcohol that can be purchased within a specific time limit. By keeping tabs on how much weed someone buys, authorities can, at least in part, keep someone from amassing inventory – sure, they could continue buying and buying day after day, but it curbs the stash somewhat.
Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s not happening – as every anti-pot person everywhere has repeatedly pointed out, the black markets in legal jurisdictions continue to exist (and thrive). Some of this has waned, in part because dispensary prices have dropped, but the taxation – the high taxation – does keep the black markets in business. What prohibitionists fail to point out, however, is that black markets continue to exist in areas where pot is illegal.
Driving while high
As we’ve discussed many times before, people who try to paint drinking and driving in the same category as imbibing while driving are downplaying how dangerous it is to get behind the wheel with a soaring blood alcohol content – in short, drunk driving is much more dangerous than driving while high (unless you combine the two). Even so, no one is advocating for anyone to smoke and drive. And doing so isn’t safe. It’s not worth the risk either.
If you’re caught driving while high (or even driving with an open container of cannabis), you might face everything from fines to jail, depending on the seriousness of the situation. There’s no reason to do it – so if you smoke a doober, call an Uber.