Marijuana is gradually being legalized, or at least decriminalized, throughout the United States. In 1996, California was the first state to legalize marijuana for medical purposes. Now, approximately half of the remaining states and Washington, D.C. have also legalized the use of medical marijuana with more and more states completely legalizing. Currently, the recreational use of marijuana is legal in a number of states, including California, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and Washington D.C., but a handful of other states seem to be headed in the direction of legalizing marijuana for recreational use as well.
For those looking to break into the marijuana business, it’s important to remember that even states that have legalized the recreational use of marijuana still have certain regulations in place. That includes regulations on the transportation of pot. Read on to learn more about how the transportation of marijuana is treated both in state and across state lines.
Before discussing the transportation of marijuana, it’s important to understand the difference between the legalization and decriminalization of the drug. Legalizing something means that those who follow the rules related to the product, won’t be arrested, ticketed, or convicted for using that product. For example, since marijuana was legalized in Colorado in 2012, people can legally use pot as long as they use it in compliance with the rules surrounding its use (i.e. you must be at least 21 years old to use marijuana).
Decriminalization, on the other hand, occurs when a state amends or repeals its laws to make certain acts no longer subject to prosecution. California, for example, has a decriminalization statute for possession of small amounts of marijuana. In Illinois, for example, if a person is caught with a small amount of pot, he or she will only be guilty of a civil violation and will have to pay a fine, but will not face other criminal consequences such as prosecution or jail time.
The legal implications of transporting marijuana within a particular state will depend on the laws of the individual state. First of all, if marijuana is illegal in a particular state, the transportation of the drug will also be illegal in that state. In states that have made marijuana legal, on the other hand, the laws related to the transportation of marijuana are different depending on if the person is a business or an individual. For example, in Colorado, an individual who transfers one ounce or less of marijuana will not be penalized if he or she is at least 21 years old and doesn’t receive money for the transfer.
However, it’s important to note that businesses are generally treated differently. States that have legalized marijuana require businesses to be licensed by the state before they can legally transport the drug. For example, in order for a person to transport marijuana within Colorado for his or her business, the person needs to have a license from the State Licensing Authority as well as from the relevant local authorities. In Washington, transporting marijuana requires a person to have a marijuana retailer license and comply with specific transportation requirements. California also allows licensees to transport marijuana, but limits the transportation to within the state.
While marijuana has been legalized in several states, it’s still illegal under federal law. As a result, transporting marijuana across state lines could result in federal criminal prosecution. The United States Drug Enforcement Agency’s website provides helpful information explaining the penalties for trafficking marijuana. The penalty depends on the amount of marijuana being transported and whether or not it’s a person’s first
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