Although decriminalization of marijuana is on the rise, it is still exceptionally risky to get high in a large number of states. Below, we have included the harshest states for their laws in marijuana use, possession, and cultivation.
Marijuana: Where You Want to Get Busted The Least
Oklahoma has some of the harshest marijuana laws in the nation. Getting caught twice with a single joint can cost you 10 years of your life and a felony charge. In 2010, a mother of four sold $31-worth of weed to a police informant, and got a 12 year sentence, even with a completely clean record.
Texas prosecutes more marijuana cases than any other state. In fact, half of all Texas crime is for possession of marijuana. There is no sign of stopping, either, as bills to reduce penalties for conviction of marijuana-related offenses and bills for medical marijuana use both failed recently.
Tennessee is one of the most strict when it comes to growing marijuana. Growing a single plant in the Volunteer State can result in 6 years in state prison and a felony charge.
Florida is right behind Tennessee, with growing a single plant netting 5 years and a felony, but the Sunshine State is overall less tolerant of marijuana use. Those looking for government assistance programs must not only submit to drug testing, but also have to pay for the actual drug tests themselves!
You could say that Alabama has some of the highest prices for weed in the nation—assuming you get caught. Get caught with a joint after a previous arrest, and you are looking at not just 10 years in state prison and a felony, but also a $15,000 fine as well.
Louisiana is a bit of an oddball. Their state possession laws are not too out of line with other states…until the third offense. On the third conviction, a person in Louisiana can go to prison for 20 years for possession of marijuana. Considering the huge influx of drugs into New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina, it is surprising that these laws have not been overturned yet.
Wyoming is somewhat unique in that being under the influence of marijuana is a crime punishable by up to 90 days in jail. If a person gets caught with the stickiest-of-the-icky—in any amount—is punishable by up to a year in prison and a $1,000 fine.
Wisconsin is another state that is highly unfriendly to marijuana and its users. Get caught with a joint twice, and it is 3 years in prison, a felony, and a $10,000 fine. Wisconsin also ranks as the fifth worst state when it comes to racial disparity in arrests for possession as well.
Arizona is the final state on the list of offenders. Even if a person is a first-time user, Arizona will put that person away for no less than 4 months. Possessing paraphernalia is considered just as graven an offense as possession of the drug itself. On the bright side (-ish?), The Grand Canyon State will not put someone away for more than 2 years for marijuana or paraphernalia charges.
In the grand scheme of things, it is nice not having to worry about the different laws and years of life that can be taken away depending on where a person lives. Just sayin’.