Since its first legalization in 2012, marijuana is now legal in 37 states for medical purposes. Around 18 states plus Washington, D.C. allow its recreational use.
More states are legalizing marijuana within their borders, whether for medical or recreational purposes. However, the laws vary in each territory.
Still, can you go to jail for possessing and smoking marijuana? The short answer is yes – it’s possible to get into legal complications and get imprisonment as a result.
It all depends on the crime committed and the state laws. Keep on reading to learn more.
Despite more states easing their restrictions on marijuana, it’s still illegal at the federal level. The government classifies it as a Schedule I drug alongside cocaine and heroin. This classification deems it as having no accepted medical use with a high potential for abuse.
The U.S. Congress can enforce this federal law, but it’s uncommon. However, prosecutors don’t typically use resources for low-level marijuana crimes. Cannabis use following state laws doesn’t receive a high priority.
When you’re on federal property, these laws apply. The same goes for possession of marijuana in interstate travel.
Depending on your state, smoking weed can be legal for either medical or recreational use. You still have to comply with the specific laws where you live.
For example, many states require users to be at least 18 years old to qualify for medical cannabis. For recreational marijuana, you might have to be 21 years old and above.
Most also require you to consume marijuana behind closed doors. You can’t smoke or eat edibles in public, for instance.
More importantly, avoid driving under the influence of this substance. Make sure to find out the allowable limit of marijuana possession, as well.
Can You Go to Jail for Smoking Marijuana?
That said, breaking either the state or federal laws can cause you to go to jail. The first offense can get you at least a year of imprisonment and some fines to pay.
According to federal law, a second offense is a felony charge. As such, you’re looking at up to two years imprisonment and a minimum $2,500 fine.
The punishment depends on the gravity of your crime, as well. In some states, you get a heavier penalty based on the amount of marijuana you carry. For example, having over 25 lbs can land you up to 30 years in jail.
These are only for smoking pot. The punishments are much harsher if you were planning to sell marijuana. A criminal defense drug crimes lawyer should help you get more familiar with these laws.
Learn More About Laws Surrounding Marijuana Use
Marijuana use remains a touchy legal subject because of its varying laws. Make sure to review the rules in your state to learn where you stand before consuming this drug.
You don’t have to be scared to go to jail when you know about the laws are regarding the subject.
If you’re already in hot water, hire a lawyer specializing in drug crimes. To learn more, feel free to check out our other posts.