More than half the states in the U.S. have legalized or at least decriminalized marijuana for medical and/or recreational use. Colorado and Washington have been closely watched as the two states were the first to have state-legal and licensed recreational retail marijuana businesses. Oregon and Alaska have since followed suit. However, regardless of state actions on their own criminal laws on marijuana, it remains federally illegal.
Some states have so far been opposed to legalizing marijuana. Here are 10 states where a joint can still land you in the joint:
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The Cornhusker state is one of two that are suing Colorado in federal court for legalizing cannabis. The lawsuit alleges that marijuana coming into Nebraska is resulting in higher law enforcement costs. Nebraska was ranked as the worst place to be caught with marijuana by NORML
As the other party to the federal lawsuit against Colorado, Oklahoma's laws on cannabis growing mean that even the smallest amount of possession or sale can result in a life sentence.
3. New Jersey
Gov. Chris Christie derided Colorado
as “a land of head shops popping up on every corner” and that marijuana legalization “may come down the road when I'm gone. It's not going to come while I'm here.” The Center for Cognitive Liberty ranked the state has having “severe” sanctions for marijuana possession and use.
“Another legislative session has come and gone with no sign of sensible reform for the Gem State,” wrote the Marijuana Policy Project about any possibility of medical marijuana legalization in Idaho
. Being caught with drug paraphernalia in the state is a misdemeanor even if there is no cannabis involved.
Persons caught with marijuana in Delaware can be banned from adopting a child for life. The state is one of seven that has this measure on the books. However, a legislative bill is in the works to make minor possession charges a fine instead of jail time.
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As one of the other states with the adoption ban, Alabama has not legalized any form or use of marijuana. Carly's Law, named after a young child whose parents advocate using cannabidiol – a specific extract of cannabis – for her form of epilepsy, has been passed. However, it allows for an affirmative defense to possession, which means even patients who are using the oil in accordance with the law still face arrest and trial.
Utah also passed a law allowing the use of cannabidiol, but only if a neurologist certifies that the patient needs it. No other medical or recreational use or possession is allowed in the state, despite its shared border with Colorado.
8. South Carolina
A bill with co-sponsors from both parties has been introduced in the South Carolina legislature that would allow limited "compassionate use" of medical marijuana for select diseases and disorders. However, similar bills have failed in previous legislative sessions.
Possession of any amount of marijuana remains a criminal offense with jail time in Arkansas. A ballot measure in 2014 to legalize medical marijuana was defeated.
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“A handful of proposals that would have rolled back Louisiana's draconian cannabis laws failed to move” in recent legislative sessions, according to the Marijuana Policy Project. The most significant step legalization advocates have made in the state was to make marijuana possession no longer an automatic parole revocation.
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