This is supposed to be a humor column, but there is nothing funny about being in the wrong place at the wrong time when cannabis is concerned, especially considering 20 grams can get you 20 years or a death sentence in some countries. Cali cannabis casual should be kept in Cali folks. As legal and business professionals it is incumbent upon us to help the people in the industry stay out of trouble and it starts with common sense.
I would like to say that we all know better than to travel to the likes of North Korea, the Philippines or Indonesia where possessing a few grams of herb wouldn’t even raise an eye brow in California but could catch you a long stint in the pokey, but I can’t because it still happens. And when I say ‘we’ I mean lawyers, consultants, our clients, their operators, our clients travel companions and anyone else in the food chain of a case, a deal, operation or transaction. (hereinafter “We”)
Before you dismiss this because you think the collective ‘We’ know better or because you think this is just applicable to another country, for the love of God and great Ganja please I beg you to THINK AGAIN and have a common sense chat with your collective We. And even if you are certain that ‘We’ know better, its easy to forget what ‘We’ know, make an error in judgment and catch a nasty case overseas where the fines are hefty, the jail time long and the risk of a death sentence is very real if a light version of your usual personal stash is considered enough for trafficking in another country.
But this isn’t just about other countries, it’s also about simple possession right here in the US. Everyone needs a strong reminder that there are still states that consider possession of cannabis a felony. There are still counties and cities that aren’t cannabis friendly (yes even within cannabis friendly states) and it is not a distinction without a difference because anyone who has had a run in with local police who aren’t cannabis friendly can tell you, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
So while it may ‘seem’ OK to smoke that oil drenched pre-roll in your front yard in Cali, it most certainly IS NOT OK to smoke that same pre-roll on your balcony at a hotel in Arizona where possession of ANY amount is considered a felony.
It’s also not OK in Florida if you possess over 20 grams – it’s a 3rd degree felony and carries a 5 year prison term. That’s less than an ounce folks, and guess what, some folks can smoke up that ounce in less than a day – it ain’t that much.
A 25 year old lady was sentenced to 12 years in prison for selling just $39 worth of marijuana to an undercover informant in Oklahoma. In Texas, almost ½ of the arrests made are for possession of cannabis. 91 percent of annual pot busts in Louisiana are for simple possession and can come with lengthy prison sentences. And don’t thing for a minute that someone wont rat you out.
Common sense can keep all of us safer and smarter. So please, for the love of God and Ganja, remind your collective “We” to check the laws of their respective travel destinations before you pack that bud for the trip, make good choices, and get back to Cali safe.