America’s state-legal cannabis industry can be quite confusing. Presently, more than 30 states have legalized medical marijuana while 17 states have launched recreational cannabis markets. Each of these states has different cannabis rules, and what’s legal in one state could very well get you incarcerated in another state. This patchwork of cannabis regulations has made operating in the marijuana sector especially risky for cannabis tourists who travel to states with legal cannabis markets in order to purchase cannabis.
Take Indiana, for example, which has outlawed recreational cannabis use and has no provisions for medical cannabis. It is one of the only states that hasn’t decriminalized cannabis in any form, and although residents are allowed to travel over the border to Illinois to purchase cannabis, they cannot return home with the substance. Because marijuana is not allowed in Indiana, individuals caught with the controversial plant can be arrested, fined and even imprisoned. Possession of less than 30 grams of cannabis is a Class A misdemeanor that comes with a fine of up to $5,000 and a penalty of up to one year imprisonment.
Paul Armentano, the deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (“NORML”), says thanks to differing cannabis laws, consumers run the risk of arrests and incarceration in some states while other states will not penalize them for engaging in the same activities.
So how would Indiana residents partake without running afoul of the law? For starters, make sure they are intimately aware of the state’s regulations before they travel for out-of-state cannabis. Most of the cannabis tourists caught coming from Illinois are cited and released, says Indiana State Police (ISP) Spokesman Sgt. Todd Ringle, although arrest is also a possibility.
If a consumer has a previous drug charge or is caught with more than 30 grams, that charge can ramp up from mere possession to a level 6 felony. As such, consumers would be better off consuming cannabis in the legal state they purchased it from rather than bringing it back home to Indiana. However, ISP Superintendent Doug Carter notes that the agency will not go out of its way to catch individuals who are purchasing cannabis for personal use or for family members who may be dying from cancer and can benefit a little from marijuana’s anti-nausea, anxiety, pain-relieving effects. Furthermore, Ringle says that if consumers cross the border with cannabis, they should at least abide by all traffic rules to ensure they aren’t stopped for traffic violations and then end up being caught with marijuana.
The legal complexities highlighted above illustrate some of the hurdles that multistate operators such as Red White & Bloom Brands Inc. (CSE: RWB) (OTCQX: RWBYF) have to navigate for each new market they enter.
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