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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