A State-By-State Analysis of Marijuana Possession

Posted by on Jul 4, 2018 | 0 comments

Whether you support or are against possession of marijuana charges, the fact remains that in most states, this possession is a crime. As explained in this article, marijuana possession charges can result in serious punishments if there is a large amount of the substance involved.

Our framers of the Constitution, for the most part, left criminal law matters to the state. As such, each state has its unique drug laws and regulations. However, there are still federal laws that concern controlled substance possession, but I am particularly interested in state criminal laws. I decided to do a brief state-by-state survey on statistics concerning marijuana possession. Here’s what I found:

Felony possession of marijuana often results in a prison sentence that is more than one year. Felony possession is a much more serious charge than misdemeanor possession. Having a felony on your record can be life-changing, and can lead to difficulties in finding employment or getting specific benefits. However, this is not to say that misdemeanors are not serious. Though they are not as serious as felonies, they can still have severe effects on the lives of the convicted.

States raise marijuana possession to the felony level based on the amount of the substance. There are ten states that do not have any felony marijuana possession charge, including California, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. In fact, some states have removed criminal penalties entirely for marijuana possession. Moreover, states like Colorado have legalized possession of a small amount of marijuana. Some states are very strict when it comes to marijuana possession. In Arizona, any amount of marijuana can result in a felony charge. In Florida, if you are in possession of more than 0.7 oz., you could be charged with a felony. If caught with over 0.5 oz. of marijuana in Tennessee, you could also be charged with felony possession.

Contrast these strict states with states that have legalized some form of marijuana possession. These states are Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Colorado, and Washington D.C. Many states have decriminalized possession, including Illinois, California, and New York. The states where any form of marijuana possession can still be illegal are in the South. These charges are much worse if possession occurs in specific areas including schools and other places of public accommodation.

It is crazy to see how different and unique the laws of each state are concerning marijuana possession. Some states do not care about it at all, some states have decriminalized it, and some states push heavy penalties for any amount of possession. The trend seems to be that more and more states are moving toward decriminalization, and sometimes legalization, of marijuana possession. It will be interesting to see what the future holds regarding marijuana possession laws. Until then, it is important to know and understand the differences between the laws do avoid serious punishment.

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *