Marijuana is legal in a handful of states, and will be legal in even more very soon. It’s not hard to see why: though demonized for years, marijuana is a perfectly safe and enjoyable habit. Unlike alcohol and many other popular recreational drugs, marijuana is functionally impossible to overdose on. It lacks strong ties to any dangerous illnesses or diseases, and its effects are relatively short and mild. The drug is quickly becoming as accepted as it is safe, with great new marijuana products – including everything from organic marijuana to edible treats – being made available every day.
Of course, not everyone is comfortable with marijuana just yet, and there are still plenty of places where it can get you in trouble. And while marijuana is perfectly safe to ingest, that doesn’t mean it can’t be combined with other things to create dangerous situations – just as you wouldn’t drive drunk, you shouldn’t drive high. So you’re still responsible for staying safe and within the law as you enjoy legal marijuana. Fortunately, it’s not hard. Here’s what you need to know.
State of Mind
Marijuana is legal in some states, but not others. You know this! So make sure that you keep state lines in mind when you’re planning to enjoy marijuana.
If you’re from a state where marijuana is illegal, you can still enjoy a joint on your trip to Colorado or Washington State. But remember that marijuana is legal in these places thanks to our federalist system, which allows states to write their own rules. Your state is under no obligation to care that Colorado let you buy marijuana legally. If you return to your state with the drug and get caught, you’re in big trouble.
In fact, you could be in really big trouble, because American law says that crimes that take place across state laws are federal crimes. Marijuana is still illegal at the federal level, and while the federal government has not intervened in states where marijuana is legal (there’s some question about whether doing so would even hold up in court), you can bet that they’d jump at the chance to take you down for hauling it across state lines – and, thanks to the Constitution, they’d have every right to do so.
Know the State Laws
As we just established, marijuana legalization is happening at the state level. That means that each state has its own set of rules and regulations regarding marijuana consumption. States set up everything differently, from the ways in which marijuana must be grown to the ways in which it may be packaged and sold.
For the most part, you don’t have to worry about the red tape. But make sure that you do know state laws about possession and use. Some states allow you to grow a small amount of marijuana for personal use. There will be regulations about how much marijuana you can own or carry around with you, and there are always restrictions about where you can smoke – count on having to do so at home.
And in every state with legal marijuana, there are some obvious rules you will probably have expected: keep your marijuana away from school zones, don’t buy marijuana for anyone else, and, of course, don’t smoke and drive.
Don’t Smoke and Drive
Marijuana is fun, but it impairs some of your abilities. That means that smoking and driving is dangerous – and, naturally, it’s illegal. So call a taxi if you’re high, and make sure that you get to your destination safely and without any brushes with the law.
Legal marijuana is the way of the future, but it’s important that each of us help demonstrate just how safe and enjoyable this drug is. Be smart! Represent your fellow smokers well and choose to avoid dangerous and illegal situations. Use your common sense, know the local laws, and respect the fact that marijuana has been made legal by the people and the lawmakers of the state that you are in.