More weed, more problems? As in, if you smoke all day, everyday, your life is likely a hot mess with no hope of redemption? According to recent research from CU Boulder, the answer to “more weed, more problems” is no. According to researchers, legalizing recreational cannabis at the state level does not lead to an increase in substance use disorders. Or even increased use of illicit drugs among adults. In fact, it may even decrease issues related to alcohol abuse. […]
Maryland and Missouri have legalized cannabis as per the ballot initiatives in yesterday’s midterms. Also up were Arkansas and North Dakota, where voters voted against cannabis legalization. The results for South Dakota were not in as of this publication. Still, it’s not looking good for the pro-legalization side. Who Didn’t Legalize Cannabis? Legal cannabis was on the ballot for Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri, North Dakota and South Dakota. Arkansas voters rejected cannabis legalization, as did North Dakota voters. Both states have […]
Perhaps we’ve just been super stoned for the past year, but is anyone else out there perplexed about how it is nearly Thanksgiving again?
It’s almost as though the last several months have been nothing more than a THC-induced dream that we fell into during a previous holiday gathering and we’re just now coming out of that catatonic state for a second slice of pumpkin pie. Geez, the weed these cannabis farmers are producing today must be stronger than the stuff we used to get down on 20 years ago. Back then, we never go so stoned as to miss an entire year.
But lo and beyond it is the holidaze season once again – that time of year when even the most rotten breed of American nincompoop launches into a gluttonous journey of carbilicious savagery with friends, family and sworn-enemies to give thanks for all the advantages they have that others do not. For many people, the inconvenience of attending these annual festivities is a necessary evil to remain in good standings with the family. After all, nobody would dare risk being nixed from the ancestral inheritance simply because they were too lazy to endure the 2018 version of the dry turkey surprise that mom has been putting on the table every year for almost three decades.
For better or worse, this means a lot of folks will be forced to travel, “Planes, Trains and Automobiles”-style all across the country this week to consume high-calorie meals, catch up with distant relatives and watch a slew of James Bond movies on television with the old man. Actually, that Bond-A-Thon, spy flick business isn’t all bad. There’s something to be said for maintaining certain traditions. But there is no way anyone in their right mind would dare show up for such a social spectacle without enough weed in their pockets to make it tolerable when that one aunt with a smoker’s cough starts grabbing them by the face and screaming, “When are you going to find a nice girl?” If ever there was a life-saving therapeutic benefit provided through the use of cannabis, it is the ability to persevere through some of the most unbearable situations with a smile.
But marijuana is still mostly illegal in the United States. Despite all the progress that has been made concerning statewide legalization over the past 20 odd years, the federal government remains hell-bent on treating the herb as one of the most dangerous substances in the world. This annoying detail typically isn’t a problem for the average cannabis consumer. Most small-time possession offenses are dealt with at the state level. Still, getting pulled over with weed in states like Texas, Oklahoma, Indiana, Arkansas, Idaho – anywhere where redneck politics are alive and well – is almost always going to end badly for the cannabis enthused. And if it just so happens to be a federal agent tapping on the glass, the chances of getting obliterated by a major drug trafficking charge could get real. An offense of this magnitude can bring on a steaming pile of nonsense that can jam someone up in the criminal justice system for years.
So, let’s try to avoid any such predicament if we can, shall we?
In order to do that, it is essential for the holiday traveler to understand a few in-and-outs for smuggling a stash of weed to a desired destination without any interference from Roscoe Law. Those folks traveling in any of the ten states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use are all clear as long as they abide by the state-mandated possession limits and their journey does not take them across state lines. For the ones who venture into other states to gather with family this year, it is necessary to exercise caution and common sense. Some of the latest data shows that 91 percent of long-distance holiday travel is done by car. This leaves a wealth of opportunities for those cops irked about having to work on Thanksgiving to swoop in and put a plethora of pre-turkey tokers in jail before the end of his shift. So, while there is an abundance of articles out there about flying with weed, we felt it would be beneficial to share some quick tips on transporting it on America’s highways.
Out of state license plates can cause trouble, so can Bob Marley window stickers: Driving from a legal marijuana state, like California or Michigan, can cause some snags in areas of prohibition. Cops have been known to profile vehicles coming from where weed is legal and waiting for the driver to commit the slightest roadway infraction so they can initiate a traffic stop. From there, the officer will do everything in his power to find illegal drugs. We don’t hear about this happening much these days, but it still does from time to time. Furthermore, vehicles branded with the images of Bob Marley, The Grateful Dead and even Pink Floyd can get a police officer snooping around for reasons to conduct a search. These fan badges tell the cops one thing: There is someone in the vehicle who enjoys marijuana. Your ride should scream more soccer mom than hippie caravan.
Avoid breaking the law: Be smart. If you must travel with weed, don’t break every law on the highway while you do it. Watching your speed and wearing a seatbelt goes a long way in averting an unwanted shakedown. Smoking weed in the vehicle should also be avoided at all cost. If the car reeks of marijuana when a cop steps up to the driver’s side window, good luck staying out of jail. If that’s your plan, perhaps you should go ahead and familiarize yourself with the basic Thanksgiving menu behind bars.
Don’t drive stoned: Police are trained to examine the eyes and body language of a motorist as soon as they utter the words, “License and registration, please.” If the driver’s peepers are bloodshot and nearly sewn shut from a roadway “safety meeting,” you had better believe the next thing out of the cop’s mouth is going to be something like, “Have you boys been smoking some of them reefers?” From there the situation is going nowhere but downhill. We can almost hear the K-9 unit now!
Keep the car clean and the marijuana stash hidden in the trunk: All it takes is for a police officer to suspect that there is pot in the car to ramp up his or her harassment tactics. Keeping a clean vehicle (no fast food bags on the floorboards, no signs of paraphernalia, forgotten roaches, etc.) is invaluable in preventing most nosey cops from grilling the driver about illegal drugs. Also, by stowing the pot in the trunk, a motorist can hinder the possibility of a cop catching a whiff of marijuana permeating from the vehicle. If you smoke weed in your car all of the time, consider a rental car for holiday travel. You can thank us later!
Avoid traveling with felony amounts of marijuana: Getting busted for pot on the way to or from Thanksgiving dinner would no doubt be a bummer. But a pinch for felony amounts of weed is sure to make the situation ten times worse. In most cases, a first-time offense for minor pot possession is treated as a misdemeanor. Some states have decriminalized it, and cops just dole out fines. Considering the shape of the marijuana climate these days, it is not uncommon for prosecutors to offer up a plea agreement to keep offenders from spending time in jail. This is good. It’s still not a pleasant situation, but it beats being embroiled in a legal battle that ultimately ends in prison. Our advice: Check the possession limits in the states you are traveling through this holiday season and keep that stash light. Also, having the contact info of pot-friendly attorneys is never a bad idea.
As a real, through and through stoner, California is one of the best states you could possibly live in and I feel blessed to have grown up there. Sure, the golden state’s industry has some flaws, but as a consumer, you can find literally anything pot-related, and usually with great convenience and for a fair price. However, as journalist stoner, I’m also lucky (if you want to call it that) to be able to experience life in a fully prohibited state – my new home for the time being, Indiana – where I get to learn more about how the market works in states that don’t offer adult recreational products.
Cannabis culture is an interesting subject in the United States and the entire world, and it varies so much based on where exactly you are located. Your stoner experience will be completely different in a state like Colorado as opposed Alabama. Same with comparing Canada to Israel. To learn more about cannabis around the world, make sure to subscribe to The Medical Cannabis Weekly Newsletter.To learn more about the new exotic cannabinoids, such as Delta 8, Delta 10 THC, THCV and THC-O, subscribe to the Delta 8 Weekly newsletter.
Cultural and Societal Differences
When it comes to personal views on cannabis use, I’ve noticed a huge discrepancy between what the citizens of Indiana feel, and what our politicians enforce. Nearly everyone I have met either uses cannabis products or doesn’t care if other people use them, point being that most people would support legalization as it would improve quality of life for many and bring a lot of money and industry to the state.
As a matter of fact, regional surveys have found that 84% of locals support new and more lenient cannabis regulations. Approximately 39 percent of Hoosiers favor allowing cannabis to be used for any purpose, while 42 percent medical use only to permitted. Regardless, only 16 percent of Indiana residents support the current laws so suffice it to say, even in Indiana I’m a stoner among stoners.
Unfortunately, the laws are not in favor of what most people here support, they actually happen to be among the most restrictive in the entire country. Many attribute it to Indiana’s reputation of being extremely conservative, more so than other states. Others believe it’s because the state is basically bought and paid for by Eli Lilly Pharmaceuticals, a known enemy of cannabis reform who has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars lobbying against legalization.
There are some obvious repercussions to prohibition, the main one being that cannabis possession is criminalized so anytime you have it you run the risk of getting arrested. And the penalties are pretty steep here. A first offense, possession up to 30 grams, is a class B misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1000 and up to 180 days in jail. If you have priors, you’re looking at class A misdemeanors and even felony charges.
That aside, there are some more subtle differences to living life in one of these states, things you don’t necessarily think about until you experience them. For example, I noticed this when I recently took my elderly aunt to the doctor for a pain management appointment. In California, I could be very candid with doctors about cannabis use and we could have a real discussion – like adults – about the benefits of cannabinoid therapy for different conditions, if it could possibly interact with any prescription medications, and if there are any risks. In Indiana, we had to stay quiet on the subject.
Another area of concern is worrying about what my kids might say that could get me in trouble. A lot of people in the industry remember the story of Shona Banda, the mother from Kansas who got arrested and lost custody of her child after he mentioned at school that she was using cannabis medicinally to treat her Crohn’s Disease. The school contacted authorities, who went to her house and turned her world completely upside down. This is definitely something that has crossed my mind, being in the cannabis industry I’m pretty outspoken with my opinions on the subject, and the fear of my kids accidentally repeating something about it at school and causing an uproar, well, it’s making me seriously consider homeschool.
Product quality and availability is a huge downside to living in a prohibition state. Of course, people can still get weed, and usually, you can find good weed in every state, but being a cannabis consumer can be much more challenging in a state like Indiana. Going from having the ability to walk into a licensed dispensary and choose from any number of flower strains, concentrates, edibles, and even specialty products – to being stuck scrambling for buds is a bit of a culture shock. Back home, if a store I went to was out of the product I wanted I simply went to another store; out here, if my dealer is out of bud then I’m out of luck.
But ease of access is not the only discrepancy. I have definitely noticed a difference in taste and freshness of some strains that I’ve purchased. One in particular that I bought had a perfumy smell to it, I have legit never smelled pot like this before except one time in my life and that was in Texas, and other very strict prohibition state. There are numerous different reasons why it could have this aroma, from natural (albeit uncommon) terpene combinations, to pesticides, synthetics, and other contaminants.
One thing I find pretty interesting about the market here is that there seems to be much more demand for alternative THCs and synthetics like Delta 8, Delta 10, and THC-O. While most people in California don’t seem to know much about these products, or have any interest in trying them, they can be found at head shops and smoke shops all over the state. Here you’ll find entire racks full of 3Chi vape carts containing all these different, barely legal or not-yet-on-the-radar cannabinoid compounds.
For me, this is the big one. I have a few people that I can get good quality flower from (except for the perfumy bud guy but that was a one-off purchase), but I pay quite a bit more here in Indiana than I did in California. I used to pay $120 per ounce for high mid/low top. Most people can expect to pay an average of $240 per ounce for the same quality. I’ve been lucky and found someone who I can buy from for $175/oz, and I’m sure many other people are finding good deals as well. But across the board, it is usually $200 or more for an ounce of decent flower. For really high-quality stuff, the top-of-the-line strains, you’re looking at well over $300 per ounce.
As far as pricing goes, the way it changes by weight is a bit different too. What I’m used to is that when you buy more, you get a prorated price; so the more you buy the less you pay per unit. For example, a half would cost $75 whereas a full ounce would be prorated to $120. This is pretty standard in California whether you’re buying from a dispensary or a dealer. That is not the case in Indiana and I have yet to find a single dealer that prices this way. I can be annoying at times, but there is a plus side to this, if you’re low on funds are stuck buying less than your normal amount, you don’t have to worry about paying extra for not getting a full ounce.
As far as concentrates go, those are hard to find and way more expensive than on the west coast. I typically by it by the gram and have been quoted double for live rosin, sugar, and shatter than what I was spending in California, which was about $15-$20 per gram.
Final Thoughts On Being a Stoner in America
You can see the contrast is striking. On one side, you have a flourishing consumer market with every product option and price point your heart desires, with no legal ramifications; and on the other side you’re limited on products, sneaking around and worrying about getting arrested while overpaying for average bud. It’s not ideal, especially being a true stoner coming from a completely unrestricted state, but it’s certainly educational. I know the comparison is focused on California verses Indiana, but it’s safe to assume the differences apply to any legal vs illegal state. And the silver lining here is that no matter where you are in the United States, and regardless of what the laws are there, you can guarantee that it’ll still be relatively easy to find decent flower, even if you have to pay more and work a little harder for it.