Ask a Stoner: William Breathes answers more questions about Amendment 64 and beyond
Since the passage of Amendment 64, which legalizes adult possession of an ounce or less of marijuana, have you been getting questions about how it will work? So have we. To help clear the foggy air, we've asked medical marijuana dispensary critic William Breathes to follow in the footsteps of the OC Weekly's Gustavo Arellano, author of the syndicated column "Ask a Mexican!," and respond to anything readers might want to Ask a Stoner.
Dear Stoner: I get drug-tested at my job. Can I quit buying expensive fake pee now or what? -- I.P. Dirty
Dear I.P.: Maybe it's time for you to find a chiller career, because it looks like you're going to have to continue cheating your way through piss tests. Although we'll likely see more lenient policies at some companies and businesses toward off-the-job marijuana use, the majority probably won't alter their policies -- because they don't have to under Amendment 64. Nor does the amendment clarify the situation for medical marijuana patients, who still are not expressly protected in their jobs.
Dear Stoner: Can I cross state lines with pot that's legal in Colorado? -- Bandit
Dear Bandit: Sorry, but Smokey will be all over you for that one. Colorado isn't just landlocked, it's weedlocked. If you're in Oklahoma, for example, possession of amounts that will soon be legal in Colorado would get you up to a year in prison on a first offense -- and if law enforcement officials decide you're involved in sale or delivery, you could be facing up to life in prison. Our other border states aren't much better. For a first-time possession charge in Arizona, you can get up to a year and a half in jail. Utah hands down a six-month jail stint and a $1,000 fine; possessing paraphernalia there can get you another six months and another $1,000 fine. In Wyoming, simply being stoned can land you in the clink for three months. And while Nebraska has decriminalized possession of up to an ounce on a first offense, distribution charges can earn you up to twenty years in jail and a fine of $25,000.
Over the past three years, stories about Colorado cars being pulled over in places like Nebraska and Kansas for marijuana checks have become increasingly common. Some friends taking a trip through Kansas this summer were popped for going four miles over the speed limit. The first thing the state trooper asked wasn't the customary "Know how fast you were going?" It was "How much marijuana do you have on you?"
But you can fly with pot -- sometimes. According to the Federal Aviation Authority, TSA agents do not search for marijuana. But if they do find it in a routine screening, they defer to the local authority, since the TSA isn't technically a law enforcement agency. So if you're flying out of DIA on your way to Seattle with a quarter of Sour Diesel in your Dopp kit and the nosy TSA agent just has to get a closer look, he might call over a Denver police officer to enforce Colorado laws -- laws that make your pot possession legal up to an ounce (again, if you're 21 or older). Medical patients can fly to states that allow for reciprocity of marijuana recommendations, such as Arizona, Montana and Connecticut.
Dear Stoner: What about people traveling to Colorado from out of state who like to get high? Does the new law apply to us as well? -- Higher and Higher
Dear High and Higher: As soon as the amendment was signed into law, out-of-staters over 21 who are found in possession of an ounce or less of marijuana are protected under Amendment 64, which is good news for you Texans looking to catch a buzz in Breck on spring break. But as for procuring your pot? That's still up in the air. Although Amendment 64 allows people to give you pot, personal sales will remain illegal -- and there's no telling what laws the legislature may craft in regard to sales at recreational marijuana stores. With talks of marijuana tourism growing, we might see an open-door policy. But for now, your best bet will be to ask the local with dreads in the lift line if he's got a few buds to spare.
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