Our country is currently amidst a long awaited repeal of weed prohibition. Slowly but surely, each state is getting on board with changing the laws regarding pot, though in theory it’s all moot if the federal government every decides to interfere.
But some states are significantly less willing to see the light of the sticky icky than others. Among the states still in the prohibition era, there are good states (California), and there are awful states (Florida).
Evan Anderson at MuckRock.com put together this comprehensive list of which states are the absolute worst when it comes to weed regulation and the issuing of citations. I mentioned before that California is a great state when it comes to handling weed offenses, but why? If an individual is over 18 years of age and in possession of 28.5 grams or less, the weed laws of California carry an ‘infraction’ (no misdemeanor), and a $100 maximum fine. But if you were to be carrying 28 grams in the state of Florida, the WORST STATE in the nation for smoking weed, you would be facing a felony, potentially 5 years in prison, and a $5,000 fine.
Yes, Florida is the absolute dregs of the nation when it comes to the handling of weed citations. Let’s look at the charts and data gathered by MuckRock:
Even after controlling for population, Florida still surpasses the rest of the states by far, handing out tickets to one in 294 people in 2011. Compare this to Arizona, the next largest distributor of marijuana citations per capita in the sample, which issued one citation for every 3,313 people in 2011. According to Arizona law, possession of any amount of marijuana is a felony, with a maximum fine of $750 and a minimum sentence of four months behind bars.
The drop in 2014 in Florida is likely an artifact of the data covering only through October 3 of that year. Removing Florida from the data (and adding Vermont) allows us to look closer at the other states in the sample.
Back when Florida’s Amendment 2 was shot down a few months ago, temporarily halting the legalization of medical marijuana, I was shocked until I found out billionaire casino baron Sheldon Adelson was behind it all. He funded a reported 85% of all the anti-pot ads throughout the state, effectively brain washing the population into thinking it’d be a bad idea. We’re talking straight up ‘Reefer Madness’ style manipulation here. But he has the money to pull off something like this.
What’s even more disconcerting now is how the majority of the state’s police departments seem to be funding themselves based on marijuana citations alone. With that many citations and arrests, Florida’s police are thriving on that money, and very likely ignoring other possible infractions. So what desire is there to ever legalize and let that river of cash dry up? None. There’s none. The police in Florida will fight with their last ounce of energy to ensure that legalization never takes place, and their cash crop remains punishable.
So while Florida is the most dangerous place int he nation to smoke pot, other states are still very much NOT on board with the whole legalization movement, so it’s very important to know your state’s laws regarding marijuana. You can click here to learn all of the Marijuana Laws By State.