If you love cannabis, or if you medically need cannabis, and you also love RVing, there is a lot to celebrate these days.
Accessible cannabis dispensaries and delivery services seem to be everywhere. In addition, 420-friendly consumption lounges, resorts, festivals, and even campgrounds (more on this coming soon) are slowly starting to appear around the country.
It’s little surprise. Marijuana, in some form—be it medical, adult-use, or CBD-only—is readily available in well over half the country. It’s been a LONG time coming, and it took a lot of activists a lot of hard work to get here.
Nonetheless, 19 states remain stuck in the Dark Ages. Get caught with cannabis in one of these states and you can find yourself in serious legal trouble. You might even find yourself behind bars.
In some of these states, marijuana is not even completely illegal!
Florida is a good example. In Florida, you are OK, IF, and ONLY IF, you have a doctor-prescribed medical marijuana card. However, if you get caught with even a little bit of cannabis without one of these cards, don’t expect leniency from law enforcement.
Currently, in Florida, possession of 20 grams or less of cannabis carries a penalty of one-year imprisonment and a fine of up to $1,000. Possessing more than 20 grams—that’s less than 1 ounce, folks—of cannabis is a felony offense, punishable with a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment and up to a $5,000 fine.
Others states could not care less if a doctor says you should use medical marijuana. The state government says you shouldn’t and it remains illegal in all forms.
For instance, Indiana, Iowa, and Kansas still impose jail time for possession of even small amounts of marijuana, even a TINY amount.
Where is weed illegal? New report examines old laws
To commemorate the 50-year anniversary of the release of the Shafer Commission report, the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) just released a new report: Behind the Times: The 19 States Where a Joint Can Still Land You in Jail.
Spearheaded by then-president Richard Nixon, the Shafer Commission investigated the effects of cannabis use back in 1971. Nixon was positive the report would help him further clamp down on the counter-culture “menace” by attacking them on the cannabis front.
However, the Shafer Report’s scientific findings came to the conclusion that small amounts of cannabis do not harm society and should not result in criminalization or jail time. Nixon was reported to have angrily thrown the report in the trash.
Not coincidentally, then New York mayor Fiorello LaGuardia commissioned a similar study, back in 1944. It came to the same conclusions as the Shafer Commission.
Public opinion has changed but these states haven’t
The new MPP report examines the current laws that lag the furthest behind public opinion, including the 19 states and the federal government which have not even “decriminalized” simple possession of cannabis.
It is important to note that the majority of support for legalizing marijuana exists in every one of the states where cannabis possession remains criminalized.
The report further delves into the penalties for simple possession and arrest rates, and provides a glimpse at some of the damage inflicted by draconian laws when states choose to use their limited law enforcement resources to arrest and jail adults for possessing a substance that by every measurable barometer is far safer than alcohol.
The 19 states where weed remains illegal
Know before you go!
When planning your RV journeys, check out the report before visiting any of the states on the list below and consider the often severe consequences of getting caught with marijuana in them. Plan accordingly.
Overall, several hundred thousand Americans are still arrested for violating states’ marijuana laws every year. More than 9 in 10 of those arrested are charged with low-level marijuana possession offenses, not sales or trafficking.
Nonetheless, any cannabis arrest can turn into a stressful and expensive ordeal involving fines, court appearances, legal bills, and/or community service in the best case scenarios and prison time in the worst.
So, which states are you most likely to get into trouble with when it comes to cannabis? What states have not even decriminalized possession of small personal amounts of cannabis? Where is weed illegal in this day and age?
If you’re a cannabis-loving RVer, avoid these states:
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
- Read the new Marijuana Policy report Behind the Times: The 19 States Where a Joint Can Still Land You in Jail
- Read the original Shafer Commission Report from 1972
- Read the original La Guardia Report from 1944