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Top Three No No’s For Legal Marijuana Users

By Attorney Robert M. Helfend

Whether you are living in a state that has legalized recreational marijuana or are a medical marijuana patient, if you use marijuana there are some very important things you need to remember. The three no-no’s below are things that will aid in legally protecting you while enjoying the new benefits of legalized marijuana.

1. You Still Cannot Drive High. In states that have legalized MJ, there are signs everywhere, “Drive High, Get A DUI.” Just because usage restrictions on marijuana have been lifted, it does not mean it is safe or legal to drive under the influence. Stay on foot, there is no need to be driving while high. Getting somewhere a little slower allows you to enjoy your high and is definitely much better than having a run-in with the police. This would be a total buzzkill, not to mention a horrible legal kerfuffle that will haunt you for years to come. There is only one way to guarantee you will not get a DUI after using marijuana: do not drive. Do not travel with marijuana in your car with an open container. If you have marijuana in a car in a legalized state, it has to be sealed. Do not ever try to take marijuana out of the state by any mode of transport. The authorities in non-legalized states are looking for people with out of state plates to pull over, just to search for possession of marijuana!

2. Do Not Smoke Marijuana In Public. Just because certain places have legalized it, does not mean the public is ready to have you take marijuana to the streets. It is still illegal to smoke in public, even in the states that have legalized it. Now that pot laws are relaxing, many people have taken to smoking marijuana outside of bars at night, in parks midday, up on rooftops, under bridges, on trains, pretty much anywhere imaginable. You never know when a cop could come around the corner and cite you, a kid could see you and get the wrong impression of recreational drug use, or surveillance cameras could record your activity. Do yourself a favor and keep your marijuana use to your home. You will probably end up enjoying yourself more anyway since you are using it in a safe and familiar place. Try not to enjoy your weed on any Federal Property

3. Protect Your Marijuana For The Protection of Others. Make sure your marijuana is stored in a safe and private place accessible only to you, preferably with a lock. It is very dangerous to have a child or a pet exposed to marijuana. Sometimes marijuana comes in the form of baked goods or candies, which a child can mistake for normal food. Make sure to lock these up as well and teach your child to look for label warnings so they do not accidentally consume marijuana. If you think a child or a pet has consumed marijuana, call 911. It is also important to be discreet if you have large amounts of marijuana so thieves do not attempt to break into your home for your stash, endangering you and your family. Use good judgment when explaining the “so-called” benefits of smoking marijuana to your children.

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Gambia Lawmakers Reduce Penalties for Cannabis Possession

On Monday the Gambia National Assembly

Under the previous laws enacted in 2010, any person found guilty of possessing cannabis would be subject to a D250,000 (about $6,300 USD) fine and/or a three-year jail term. With the enactment of the new law, penalties for cannabis possession will be reduced, and based on quantity: 0.1 grams – 150 grams of cannabis will be punishable by a fine between D50.000 and D100,000 and/or imprisonment for six months to a year; 151 grams to 500 grams will be punishable by a fine of D100,000 – D150,000 and/or imprisonment for one to two years; over 500 grams will warrant a fine of D150,000 – D250,000 and/or imprisonment for two to three years.

“We have observed with grave concern the rate of arrest and conviction of young people on cannabis possession. The NDEA (National Drug Enforcement Agency) records show that in the past four years, 349 young people were prosecuted for Cannabis sativa possession and /or trafficking,” says the Minister of the Interior Honourable Ousman Sonko, who tabled the Drug Control Amendment Bill 2014 before lawmakers. “Such imprisonment of young first-time convicts may expose them to hardened criminals in prisons who may negatively influence their lives forever. That is one of the reasons why we want to scale down the fines depending on the quantity for first-time offenders in cannabis possession.”

Many of those who have been charged with possession end up in jail due to the inability to pay the costly fines, resulting in an increase in prison population. Minister Sonko says the new law “may help decongest the prisons and obviate or reduce government spending on prison maintenance.”The current prison population rate in Gambia is 53 people jailed per 100,000. In comparison, the U.S. incarcerates 716 out of every 100,000 people.

– TheJointBlog

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