The rise of marijuana and its growing acceptance across the country has been progressing for over a decade now. Instead of endless persecution and continuous fear of marijuana users, people are now slowly realizing the potential medical benefits of using marijuana.
Unfortunately, not every state in the USA can be as enlightened as others. Despite how many states have either completely legalized marijuana or allowed medical marijuana to be purchased, there are still a few states that criminalize the drug.
But what are these states? Which of the 50 states in the USA still don’t accept medical marijuana?
Which States in the USA Is Marijuana Not Legal in?
Though the situation is currently changing every single year, medical marijuana is now legal in 33 states.
This means that there are still 17 states in the USA that consider medical marijuana dangerous, like other, more harmful drugs.
These states are:
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
It is worth noting, however, that in the majority of these states, CBD oil is legal for purchase in most pharmacies or local dispensaries. However, most of these states require you to receive a recommendation from a doctor to use CBD oil, as long as you have a qualifying medical condition.
It is only in Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota that any marijuana products are considered entirely illegal.
It isn’t all bad, though; some of these states have enacted at least some form of marijuana decriminalization. This means that, for a few states, if you get caught with marijuana in small amounts, you will not likely go to prison.
You won’t necessarily get off scot-free either, however. You will most likely suffer fines or community service, especially if it is your first offense.
So, as long as you live in either Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska or North Carolina, you won’t be exceedingly likely to go to jail for possessing a small amount of marijuana. Most of the time, a ‘small amount’ is nothing more than about a quarter of an ounce, though this can vary wildly between the states.
But what can happen to you if you get caught in one of the states that doesn’t have lenient policies on marijuana possession?
What Can Happen to You if You Smoke Marijuana in These States?
While it might be easy enough to tell yourself that you won’t go to these states if you fear being arrested for marijuana possession, many people don’t have that opportunity. Some people already live in one of these 17 states, or perhaps you are forced to drive through them on the way to a marijuana-friendly state, but get pulled over and searched.
It is essential to know what kind of punishment you can get in each state to be able to plan your travels properly – that, or your moving out plan.
The main criteria you need to keep in mind is what amount of marijuana each state allows you to have before they consider it a federal crime. The proper punishments for smaller amounts of marijuana vary hugely between different states. Many of them are limited to simple things like short prison sentences or fines.
However, getting a federal charge is something altogether different. Federal charges for marijuana possession can stick around on your record for years. It can be difficult to get a job or find a home to rent with that on your record.
Here’s those same states again, this time with their weight limits on marijuana alongside:
- Alabama: Anything more than 35.27 oz, as the laws are focused on trafficking, but if you get caught a second time, it is an automatic felony offense
- Georgia: You need more than 1 oz for a felony offense
- Idaho: More than 3 oz
- Indiana: More than 1.05 oz, but a second offense means a felony.
- Iowa: Nothing! No felony charges here, but you will still suffer state-level punishments for most amounts
- Kansas: While all first-time offenses are registered as a misdemeanor, 2nd-time offenses are always felonies
- Kentucky: More than 8 oz
- Mississippi: More than 1.05 oz
- Missouri: More than 1.23 oz
- Nebraska: More than 16 oz
- North Carolina: More than 1.5 oz
- South Carolina: More than 1 oz
- South Dakota: More than 2 oz
- Tennessee: More than ½ oz
- Texas: More than 4 oz
- Utah: More than 16 oz
- Virginia: Just like Iowa, there are no felony convictions for Virginia anymore
- Wisconsin: Automatic felony on the second conviction, but the first offense requires any quantity of marijuana for a punishment
- Wyoming: More than 3 oz
Again, this might all sound reasonably manageable. You just need to keep in mind what the legal weight limit for marijuana is in your state and not go above it.
Definitions of Weight
Like all things related to marijuana in the USA, it is so much more complex than that. In individual states, the way in which the weight of the marijuana you are carrying is calculated is different. In some states, they include the weight of any and all bags or containers it comes in.
This means that if you keep your weed in a plastic container, especially one with a heavy-duty lid, the weight of the container is included in the police report. This might sound totally insane, but it isn’t even the worst part; the way in which Texas calculates edible weight is the definition of insanity.
If you were found to be in possession of some weed brownies that contained a total of one-eighth of an ounce of weed, it seems obvious what should happen. You should be charged for possession of one eighth, thus making it a misdemeanor. Unfortunately, the Texas state department sees it entirely differently.
When you get found with marijuana brownies, you are charged for the full weight of the brownies as if the entire thing were made of weed. This means that a batch of brownies that might weigh as much as a full pound (128 times the actual weight of the marijuana) will be treated as if it were just nothing but baked marijuana.
In the state of Texas, if you get found with basically any edible, you are almost guaranteed to be struck down with a felony charge.
So, make sure you know what your local state says about marijuana possession. Even though they might advertise themselves as having a high limit for felony charges, it might be nothing more than a trick.
Final Thoughts on What States Medical Marijuana Is NOT Legal in
Considering all the dangers and risks you take when trying to imbibe medical marijuana in the USA, you can see why so many people refuse to use it. No matter how helpful it could be to them, many people are too frightened to use medical marijuana, for fear of being persecuted by the government.
By far the best way to ensure that you don’t run afoul of the law is to know your state’s marijuana laws inside and out. Know precisely what the limit is for felony offenses, as well as what can happen to you if you are found with that amount.
Additionally, keep an eye out for any tricks that cops use to get you charged for more than you should be, like Texas with its strange hatred for weed brownies.
Though this all might be pretty terrifying, remember one thing; it is getting better. In the last year alone, the list shown above shrank by two states. Over time, more and more states and governments across the USA will begin to recognize medical marijuana. Though it might seem like it is taking an eternity, the law is slowly getting better for medical marijuana users.
Until that point, though, make sure you know what you are getting yourself into.