The legal status of marijuana in the American south-west is more fractured than ever in the wake of the 2016 election.
There are now multiple stretches where merely taking a step in any given direction can mean the difference between possessing a felony quantity of marijuana and being fully within the confines of the law. Knowing the laws of those states is more important than ever. The details and any person’s specific situation can make all the difference in the world.
California and Colorado now both allow adults over the age of 21 to possess up to an ounce of cannabis completely legally, with Nevada joining in on January 1, 2017. Arizona, where a similar measure failed, and New Mexico both have medical programs that allow qualified patients to possess 2.5 and 6 ounces respectively, but without a physician’s recommendation that one ounce that is legal in neighboring states is still against the law.
While a felony in Arizona, New Mexico is relatively less harsh on those who don’t qualify for a medical exemption, only assigning a $100 maximum fine and a 15 day maximum jail sentence for possession of one ounce. Utah, which will be sandwiched between two states that allow adults over 21 years old to possess an ounce legally come January, does not allow possession of any marijuana for any reason except for CBD oil.
With such a patchwork of laws, keeping track of what the legal status of something like marijuana is in each place can be a real hassle. Is an ounce legal or not? If you’re a patient, is the amount you have with you legal?
Nevada allows patients registered anywhere to have 2.5 ounces while California only allows 2 ounces, and then only for patients registered in California – those living or vacationing in towns like those around Lake Tahoe which straddles the border of those two states have an obligation to stay up to date on the laws if they want to stay out of trouble.
Confusing, isn’t it? Not only is it a lot of work to keep up with all the changes, but remembering the details on the spot under pressure is an entirely different problem. At ATLAS, we understand how all this can cause undue stress.
We as citizens shouldn’t have to walk around wondering if what we’re doing at that moment is legal, but without ready access to this information we put ourselves at risk if we fail to actively track such things.
We must each stay connected with the laws that affect us or we risk losing our property, liberty or even our lives in many circumstances for things we never expected could have such consequences. This is why we felt we had to create ATLAS, and why I personally use it almost every day.
Be informed and stay safe.