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The 5 Worst States for Getting Busted with Marijuana

FruityBud

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Police prosecute over 800,000 Americans annually for violating state marijuana laws. The penalties for those busted and convicted vary greatly, ranging from the imposition of small fines to license revocation to potential incarceration. But for the citizens arrested in these five states, the ramifications of even a minor pot bust are likely to be exceptionally severe.

1. Oklahoma. Lawmakers in the Sooner State made headlines this spring when legislators voted 119 to 20 in favor of House Bill 1798, which enhances the state sentencing guidelines for hash manufacturing to a minimum of two years in jail and a maximum penalty of life in prison. (Mary Fallin, the state’s first-ever female governor, signed the measure into law in April; it takes effect on November 1, 2011.) But longtime Oklahoma observers were hardly surprised at lawmakers’ latest "life for pot" plan. After all, state law already allows judges to hand out life sentences for those convicted of cannabis cultivation or for the sale of a single dime-bag.

Patricia Marilyn Spottedcow, 25, learned the truth about Oklahoma’s excessive pot penalties the hard way in February when a judge sentenced the mother of four to 30 years in prison for her role in the sale of $39 worth of herb to an undercover informant. Spottedcow’s sentence sparked national media attention – and public outrage – but neither result has led the judge in the case to reconsider the terms of her confinement.

Similarly harsh sentences for pot are par for the course in the Sooner State. Paraplegic Jimmy Montgomery was sentenced to life in prison – later reduced to 10 years – after being caught with two ounces of medical pot in his wheelchair. After considerable public outcry, Montgomery was eventually granted early release on medical parole – though he later lost a leg from an ulcerated bed sore he developed while in prison. Rheumatoid arthritis patient Will Foster – convicted of marijuana cultivation in 1997 – received a similarly draconian 93-year sentence, later reduced to 20 years on appeal. Foster was eventually paroled and moved to California, where he quickly registered as a legal medi-pot patient. However, in 2009 he was extradited back to Oklahoma to serve additional time behind bars.

Overall, some 13,000 Oklahomans are busted for pot annually. Only 12 other states arrest a greater percentage of their population for weed, and arguably no state sentences those convicted more harshly.

2. Texas. On an annual basis, no state arrests and criminally prosecutes more of its citizens for pot than does Texas. Marijuana arrests comprise over half of all annual arrests in the Lone Star State. It is easy to see why. In 2009, more than 97 percent of all Texas marijuana arrests — over 77,000 people — were for possession only. Those convicted face up to 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine, even upon a first conviction.

Despite Texas’ dubious distinction as the #1 pot prosecuting state in America, police and lawmakers have little interest in exploring alternatives. In 2007, former Gov. Rick Perry signed legislation (HB 2391) into law granting police the option of issuing a summons in lieu of an arrest in minor marijuana possession cases. Yet aside from police in Austin, long considered to be the state’s lone bastion of liberalism, law enforcement have continued to fervently make arrests in even the most trivial of pot cases.

In 2011, Houston Democrat Harold Dutton introduced House Bill 458, which sought to reduce penalties for the adult possession of one ounce or less of marijuana to a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine not exceeding $500 and no criminal record. Within weeks, over 2,500 Texans contacted their House members in support of the measure. Nonetheless, House lawmakers refused to even consider bringing the measure to a vote.

3. Florida. According to a 2009 state-by-state analysis by researcher and former NORML Director Jon Gettman, no other state routinely punishes minor marijuana more severely than does the Sunshine State. Under Florida law, marijuana possession of 20 grams or less (about two-thirds of an ounce) is a criminal misdemeanor punishable by up to one-year imprisonment and a $1,000 fine. Marijuana possession over 20 grams, as well as the cultivation of even a single pot plant, are defined by law as felony offenses – punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. In recent years, state lawmakers have revisited the state’s marijuana penalties – in each case electing to enhance Florida’s already toughest-in-the-nation criminal punishments.

Ironically, despite the Sunshine State’s long history as one of the nation’s stiffest pot prosecutors, law enforcement have steadfastly refused to report their annual marijuana arrest data to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Illinois is the only other state that elects to withhold this information from federal statisticians.

4. Louisiana. On May 6 the Associated Press reported on the case of Cornell Hood II, who received a life sentence for possessing two pounds of pot. Hood received the maximum sentence under Louisiana’s habitual drug offender law because he had three prior marijuana convictions, although none of them were significant enough to result in even a single day of jail time.

Multi-decade sentences for repeat pot offenders are hardly a rare occurrence. Under Louisiana law, a second pot possession conviction is classified as a felony offense, punishable by up to five years in prison. Three-time offenders face up to 20 years in prison. According to a 2008 expose published in the New Orleans City Business online, district attorneys are not hesitant to “target small-time marijuana users, sometimes caught with less than a gram of pot, and threaten them with lengthy prison sentences.”

Each year, cops make nearly 19,000 pot busts in the Bayou State – some 91 percent for simple possession – and according to Gettman, only three other states routinely punish minor offenders so severely.

5. Arizona. Forty years ago virtually every state in the nation defined marijuana possession as a felony offense. Today, only one state, Arizona, treats first-time pot possession in such an archaic and punitive manner.

Under Arizona law, even minor marijuana possession offenses may be prosecuted as felony crimes, punishable by up to 18 months in jail and a $150,000 fine. According to Jon Gettman’s 2009 analysis only Florida consistently treats minor marijuana possession cases more severely.

Annually, some 22,000 Arizonans are busted for pot and 92 percent of those arrested are charged with possession only. Citing the rising costs of these prosecutions at a time of shrinking state budgets, first-term GOP House lawmaker John Fillmore (Apache Junction) recently introduced legislation, HB 2228, to reduce pot possession to a non-criminal petty offense, punishable by no more than a $100 fine. So how did his supposedly "small government, no nanny state" colleagues respond to his proposal? With “a lot of smiles and laughs,” Fillmore told the Phoenix New Times. Predictably, HB 2228 failed to even receive a legislative hearing from his fellow lawmakers.

hxxp://tinyurl.com/3cf4d2l
 

Mutt

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Paraplegic Jimmy Montgomery was sentenced to life in prison – later reduced to 10 years – after being caught with two ounces of medical pot in his wheelchair. After considerable public outcry, Montgomery was eventually granted early release on medical parole – though he later lost a leg from an ulcerated bed sore he developed while in prison.
DANG!!! Thats some cold blooded crap right there!!!!! How is that NOT cruel and unusual punishment.
 
S

StoneyBud

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Florida. According to a 2009 state-by-state analysis by researcher and former NORML Director Jon Gettman, no other state routinely punishes minor marijuana more severely than does the Sunshine State. Under Florida law, marijuana possession of 20 grams or less (about two-thirds of an ounce) is a criminal misdemeanor punishable by up to one-year imprisonment and a $1,000 fine. Marijuana possession over 20 grams, as well as the cultivation of even a single pot plant, are defined by law as felony offenses – punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. In recent years, state lawmakers have revisited the state’s marijuana penalties – in each case electing to enhance Florida’s already toughest-in-the-nation criminal punishments.

Ironically, despite the Sunshine State’s long history as one of the nation’s stiffest pot prosecutors, law enforcement have steadfastly refused to report their annual marijuana arrest data to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Illinois is the only other state that elects to withhold this information from federal statisticians.
No kiddin! I think most of the pot arrests are for public smoking, (at least in my area), and attached to being pulled over for speeding or whatever where the cops smell it in the car.

Outside grows are everywhere here also. They routinely bust people here for growing in thier yards.

All my growing is done inside. I never smoke and drive or drink and drive. I use edibles when I go out. The cab drivers never give a crap if I'm high, drunk or whatever. Neither do the bartenders at the clubs when I tell them I'm taking a cab home. I never get really wasted any more anyway. A good buzz is all I'm after.

Nobody looks twice at an old guy with some cookies. hehe, and I don't share with anyone but fellow stoners. My chocolate-chip cookies are to die for! 1/2 gram per/cookie.

The laws here scare the crap outta me tho'.

What if....old guy in prison with a marshmallow azz....Yikes! I feel violated already!
 

Mutt

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What if....old guy in prison with a marshmallow azz....Yikes! I feel violated already!
I could have lived just fine without ever reading that. :eek: :ignore:
 

OGKushman

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life for a possessing a plant
just catching a buzz

:confused:


law makers in those states need to get off their high horse. After all the horse IS high. Like the lawmakers dont drink alcohol. HYPOCRITICAL MORONS
 

mojavemama

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How many here have seen "The Union"? Big brother has done a fine job of hoodwinking the public into fearing the gentle herb, while allowing full legal access to drugs that harm and kill people routinely.
 

rele-tired

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Every time I read something about Oklahoma it just makes me happier that I left. about 8 years agao my wife and I decided to move to Colorado. At that time Oklahoma was just as insane as they are right now. The state was implementing a "Green for Green" program. They would put up billboards, signs, TV commercials, Radio commercials, even using sheet of paper hung on the grocery store bulliten board to announce:
"Green for Green!
If you know anyone who is growing, selling, or using marijuana call now for your cash reward."

They would pay you to be a rat! If you had a problem with someone you just call and say they had a big bag of weed in their house. The cops would raid it within a couple of days. If the person had anything in their house they were immediately arrested. If they were convicted you get your cash reward.
The Sooner state is so named because you are guaranteed to be arrested Sooner, rather than Later. What a bunch of paranoid freaks. I am so glad i left!
In OK you get 2 years to life for hash. In CO you get free hash for your first visit to a dispensary. Now how can OK claim that a life sentence isn't cruel and unusual punishment?
Have fun you backward Okies. If any of you have a chance to escape come to beautiful Colorado where we don't want to cage you like an animal for being a passive stoner. Colorado will throw the book at you for D.U.I., but not for B.U.D.
Long live Colorado!
 
A

AlkaloidContent

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mojavemama said:
How many here have seen "The Union"? Big brother has done a fine job of hoodwinking the public into fearing the gentle herb, while allowing full legal access to drugs that harm and kill people routinely.
You know they use a lab grade medicinal methamphetamine in treatment for most adolescent Add, ADHD, Autism, etc.

I have a sibling who is autistic and it made me sick growing up to realize what that crap was. Absolutely sick, then to turn around growing up, get caught with a bag of all natural mother natures flowers and get treated like some kind of screw up.

Sickening.
 

Herm

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I wondered why it was so hard for me to find a zip of good herb in Arizona this summer. People acted like I was crazy.
 

OldHippieChick

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Yep - I'm shopping for a place to go. Texas is not for me. Prisons are big business for the private sector here... add to that the lawyers cuts and the insurance markups for sr99 files, and the bail bondsmans and there are a LOT of people who support themselves by making me a criminal.
Unfortunately, look at the list, these states are the cheapest places to live???? And selling my house in this market is a flat idea? I'm wracking my brain on how to get out of this trap. I'm giving up on the south.
 

Mutt

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AlkaloidContent said:
You know they use a lab grade medicinal methamphetamine in treatment for most adolescent Add, ADHD, Autism, etc.

I have a sibling who is autistic and it made me sick growing up to realize what that crap was. Absolutely sick, then to turn around growing up, get caught with a bag of all natural mother natures flowers and get treated like some kind of screw up.

Sickening.
it's not "methamphetamine" dude... It's Amphetamine. and not all ADHD and Autistic treatment uses this. They now are producing non-amphetamine based meds. This topic is so blown out of proportion. and it pisses me off when people bash drugs that actually do HELP.
You obviously have not had a young child with mild autism or adhd. You said you grew up with him...totally different being an adult and having to work with treatment. Do you sacrifice education, quality of life, and self esteem because of lack of knowledge how the drugs work?
The pain meds attack, but kids with true disabilities. back off bud. If something WORKS then don't attack it.
Thanks. My son has trouble. and we have worked very hard to keep his meds at a min. but he does NEED them.
 

Rosebud

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OldHippieChick said:
Yep - I'm shopping for a place to go. Texas is not for me. Prisons are big business for the private sector here... add to that the lawyers cuts and the insurance markups for sr99 files, and the bail bondsmans and there are a LOT of people who support themselves by making me a criminal.
Unfortunately, look at the list, these states are the cheapest places to live???? And selling my house in this market is a flat idea? I'm wracking my brain on how to get out of this trap. I'm giving up on the south.
Come North OHC. We are nice.


Mutt You are absolutely right. Until you have had a child with special needs you know not of what you speak.
 

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