Buzz Kill: State By State Weed Laws Every Rapper Should Know
Late Monday night/early Tuesday morning, news broke that Wiz Khalifa had been arrested in Greensville, NC following a show. Video footage of the arrest surfaced a short while later and Twitter was in a frenzy. The Pittsburgh MC has since been released, but we never like to see blossoming stars—or anyone, for that matter—in trouble with the boys in blue.
Sometimes, you get in trouble for doing shit you didn't think you'd get in trouble for (and, oftentimes, shouldn't have in the first place). This starts at a young age, when you hit your younger brother 'cause, well, why not? And it continues even when you get older, as we see here. In this case, some people were working security and smelled an "odor" coming from the tour bus of the headliner on the "Waken Baken" tour and they decided to try to throw their weight around and act somewhere between cute and gully by searching the bus? #fuckouttahere
So, in solidarity with our Freshman alum (or is he still a Freshman?) and bud-burning rappers (and fans) everywhere, here’s a quick guide to some of the country’s marijuana laws, and how they vary state to state, courtesy of the good people over at The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).
Take heed rappers. We hope that, for as long as you want, you can be still blazin’, still blazin’, still blazin’.
Places where the famed “pursuit of happiness” described in the Declaration of Independence can be enjoyed as the Forefathers had hoped:
A bunch of states have turned at least a semi-blind eye to marijuana use by decriminalizing the drug. According to NORML, “Typically, decriminalization means no prison time or criminal record for first-time possession of a small amount for personal consumption. The conduct is treated like a minor traffic violation.”
These states that have already hopped on board include Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Oregon.
Since you probably spend a lot of time in New York—and maybe even have an estate or two there—it’s important to highlight the NY state laws well.
If you’re holding 25 grams or less, it’s a civil citation for your first two offenses and you’ll get no jail time. The penalty is up to $200. Your third offense will be a misdemeanor and incarceration could last up to five days, but let’s hope it doesn’t get that far.
Fines get up in the thousands if your scale tips two ounces.
Don’t fuck around in Connecticut at all:
Although it neighbors New York, has relatively laid-back policies, and a Democrat won the governor’s race last week, Connecticut is none too liberal with their marijuana laws.
Possession of a “usable amount,” which is up to 4 ounces, will get you a misdemeanor and a fine of up to $1,000 and jail time up to a year for the first offense. Any subsequent offense for a “usable amount” could be up to five years in jail and a three grand fine. Legislature must have had rappers in mind when they decided that a "usable amount" was up to 4 ounces. For most people—even heavy smokers—that's only usable over a long period of time.
Here’s the real kicker for those of you with a big following among the young’ns: Possession of any amount within 1,500 feet of a school warrants a two-year minimum mandatory sentence, in addition to any other penalties. Say no to drugs near kids.
Other laws that you probably don't know:
In Alabama, holding up to 2.2 pounds is just a misdemeanor. Jail time if you’re caught with this is up to a year, and the fine can reach $6,000. Just don’t get high and set up a wrestling match for bears. Those are illegal. We’re disappointed, too.
In Nebraska, the first offense for possessing less than an ounce is simply a civil citation and a $300 fine. And while you can fly paper planes, you can't fly planes while flying paper planes. Yeah, it's illegal to fly a plane under the influence of any drug or alcohol. #KanyeShrug
Possession within 1,000 feet of school, church or public housing in Louisiana results in mandatory minimum sentence of one half of the maximum penalty for whatever you were holding. Also, you can't shoot lasers at police officers. Sorry, Lupe.
Despite your charm and star power and the many groupies that certainly flock towards you, be careful when it comes to seducing unmarried women in Michigan. It's a felony offense and you could land in the state pen for up to five years and have to pay a $2,500 fine.
If you hop across Lake Michigan and the unfortunate circumstance arises where you get locked up in Wisconsin, make sure they bring you some legit butter from the state so famous for its dairy. None of the margarine bullshit, because it’s illegal to serve butter substitutes in state prisons in the Badger State.
Man, some laws really are fucked up.