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I was employed at Cozen O'Connor, an international law firm. I worked at the largest office in Philadelphia when I had my stroke on April 8, 2009, in the middle of the night. It took me a year to realize I could never go back there. It also took that long to realize I was disabled. I don't embrace the stroke -- not now, not ever -- but I accept it because I have two options: live with the stroke or... well, you know the alternative.

May 14, 2016

The Feds Outrank States Over Possession of Marijuana

I lived at home when I went to college, the top regret of my life. I never got a chance to be stoned out of my mind until the stars melted slowly to become one across the sky. Why? Because there was always a parent waiting up for me to return home. In fact, I had my first joint at 33 with Thom and his wife, after my second son was born, carefully keeping a watch on the stairs to make sure my oldest, precocious son didn't come down to see the "completed baked" company. 

I had five more pot experiences with other people who had pot on their persons since then. I am now 68 and I wouldn't even know where the fuck to buy it!

Why am I talking about marijuana, or the substance known scientifically as cannabis, at all in a website that should be about strokes? Good question, but a little background first.

Pot, which used to be the forbidden weed, is now totally legal in 4 states and D.C., and for medicinal use in a bunch of other states. But a majority of the states still don't allow marijuana at all.

Mother Jones writer Josh Harkinson sums it up neatly: "With marijuana now legal in four states and the District of Columbia, the movement to end the prohibition of pot continues to gain steam. Another five states are expected to introduce ballot measures to legalize recreational pot in 2016, including California, Massachusetts, and Nevada.... With a slew of polls now showing that most Americans think pot should be taxed and regulated like alcohol, it's probably only a matter of time before legalization sweeps the nation."

As of April 2016: 


Marijuana Legalization Status
Dark green
Medical marijuana legalized
 Neon green
Marijuana legalized for recreational use
 Grey
No laws legalizing marijuana







A criminal defense website offers this chart: 



Alabama
Marijuana possession, sale, and distribution is regulated by both state and federal law. In Alabama, marijuana is regulated as a “Schedule I” controlled substance.
Alaska Under Ballot Measure 2, adults age 21 or older in Alaska may possess up to one ounce of marijuana. In addition, adults may grow up to six plants (with up to three flowering) for personal use.
Arizona Possession of marijuana is a criminal offense. The penalties for possession depend on whether the marijuana was intended for personal use or for sale. In addition to the penalty of jail time, anyone convicted of possession will be required to pay a fine of up to $150,000, as determined by the court.
Arkansas Possession of a relatively small amount of marijuana is a misdemeanor, but possessing marijuana in larger quantities is a felony. Also, penalties are increased for repeated offenses.
California Possession of marijuana is a criminal offense. Penalties depend on the amount. Possessing marijuana for sale is treated as a separate offense.
Colorado In Colorado, marijuana is regulated as a controlled substance. (Co. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 18-18-102.) But as of 2012, Amendment 64 made it legal under state law for adults (people 21 years old or older) to possess and cultivate certian amounts of marijuana for personal use.
Connecticut Possession of marijuana is a criminal offense. Penalties depend on the amount. In July of 2011, the Connecticut legislature passed a bill decriminalizing possession and personal use of less than one half ounce of marijuana. Such possession is now considered a civil violation, subject to a fine of up to $150.
Delaware Knowingly possessing, using, or consuming any amount of marijuana (even small amounts for personal use) is an unclassified misdemeanor, punishable with up to three months in jail and a fine of up to $575.
D.C. Voters in Washington, D.C. resoundingly passed Initiative 71 in November 2014, legalizing the possession and personal, nonmedical use of marijuana by adults in the District.
Florida Possessing 20 or fewer grams of marijuana is a first degree misdemeanor, punishable with up to one year in jail. 
Georgia It is a crime in Georgia to possess marijuana for personal use; or to buy, manufacture, or sell marijuana (or to possess it with the intent to do any of these things). Unlike most states, Georgia does not differentiate, for sentencing purposes, between possession for personal use and manufacture or sale.
Hawaii A person who knowingly possesses marijuana (in any amount) is guilty of a petty misdemeanor, punishable with up to 30 days in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.
Idaho A violation is a misdemeanor, punishable with up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, or both. A violation is a felony, punishable with up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.
Illinois
Up to two and a half grams: A violation is a class C misdemeanor, punishable with up to 30 days in jail, a fine of up to $1,500, or both. Between two and a half and ten grams: A violation is a class B misdemeanor, punishable with up to six months in jail, a fine of up to $1,500, or both.
Indiana It is illegal to knowingly or intentionally posses marijuana in Indiana. Someone who cultivates marijuana plants (or fails to destroy marijuana plants that the person knows are growing on the person’s property) is also in violation of the possession law. Penalties vary according to the amount possessed.
Iowa First offenders will face up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Penalties for a second offense include up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,500. Any subsequent offense is a felony, and carries up to two years' imprisonment and a fine of between $500 and $5,000.  
Kansas It is a crime to possess any amount marijuana (including small amounts for personal use) in Kansas. (Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-5706(b)(3).) Violations are a class A misdemeanor, punishable with a fine of up to $2,500, up to one year in jail, or both. Second and subsequent convictions are level 4 felonies, punishable with up to 26 months in prison, and possible fines.
Kentucky It is a crime to possess any amount marijuana (including small amounts for personal use) in Kentucky. Violations are a class B misdemeanor, punishable with a fine of up to $250, up to 45 days in jail, or both. (Ken. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 218A.1422.)  
Louisiana It is a crime to knowingly or intentionally possess any amount marijuana (including small amounts for personal use) in Louisiana. (La. Rev. Stat. § 966(E).) Penalties vary according to whether the violation is a first or subsequent offense.
Maine It is a crime to knowingly or intentionally possess marijuana Maine. (Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 1102.) Penalties vary according to the amount possessed, and may be increased for aggravating factors. Additionally, someone who possesses more than two and a half ounces is presumed to be in possession with the intention of selling marijuana
Maryland It is a crime to knowingly or intentionally possess any amount of marijuana Maryland (even small amounts for personal use). A violation is a misdemeanor, punishable with up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.
Massachusetts It is a crime to knowingly or intentionally possess marijuana in Massachusetts. Penalties vary according to the amount possessed, with additional penalties for minors in possession of marijuana.  
Michigan It is a crime to knowingly or intentionally possess any amount marijuana (including small amounts for personal use) in Michigan. Penalties include a fine of up to $2,000, up to one year in jail, or both.
Minnesota It is a crime to knowingly or intentionally possess marijuana in Minnesota. Penalties vary according to the amount possessed, measured as the total amount possessed within a 90 day period before the date of arrest.
Mississippi It is a crime to knowingly or intentionally possess any amount marijuana (including small amounts for personal use) in Mississippi. Penalties vary according to the amount possessed.
Missouri It is a crime to knowingly or intentionally possess any amount marijuana (including small amounts for personal use) in Missouri. Penalties vary according to the amount possessed.
Montana
It is a crime to knowingly or intentionally possess up to 60 grams of marijuana or up to one gram of hashish (including small amounts for personal use) in Montana. Penalties vary according to whether the offense was a first or subsequent violation. 
Nebraska It is a crime to knowingly or intentionally possess marijuana (including small amounts for personal use) in Nebraska. Penalties vary according to the amount possessed, and whether the offense was a first or subsequent violation.
Nevada Up to one ounce. Penalties for a first offense include a fine of up to $600, participation in a drug treatment program, or both. A second offense carries a fine of up to $1,000, drug treatment, or both. A third offense carries a fine of up to $2,000, up to one year in jail, or both. And a fourth or subsequent offense carries a fine of up to $5,000, between one and four years in prison, or both.
New Hampshire It is a crime to knowingly or intentionally possess marijuana (including small amounts for personal use) in New Hampshire. Penalties include a fine of up to $2,000, up to one year in jail, or both.
New Jersey It is a crime to knowingly or intentionally possess marijuana (including small amounts for personal use) in New Jersey. Penalties vary according to the amount possessed. Second and subsequent convictions may be punished with up to double the penalties.
New Mexico It is a crime to knowingly or intentionally possess marijuana (including small amounts for personal use) in New Mexico. Penalties vary according to the amount possessed, and whether the offense was a first or subsequent violation. Penalties increase if the violation occurs within a posted drug-free school zone.
New York Up to 25 grams: New York has decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana (at least as far as first and second violations are involved). Violations are considered civil citations (similar to a traffic violation), which incur a fine, but no jail time. There is a fine of up to $100 for a first offense, and up to $200 for a second offense.
North Carolina Up to one half of an ounce: Penalties include a fine of up to $200, up to 30 days in jail, or both.  Between one half ounce and one and a half ounces: Penalties include a fine of up to $500, between one and 120 days in jail, or both. The judge may order probation or community service in addition to, or  in lieu of some or all of the jail time.
North Dakota Up to one-half of an ounce:  Penalties include a fine of up to $1,000, up to 30 days in jail, or both.  Between one-half ounce and one ounce: Penalties include a fine of up to $1,000, up to one year in jail, or both.
Ohio It is a crime to knowingly or intentionally possess marijuana in Ohio. Penalties vary according to the amount possessed, with increased fines and jail time for second and subsequent convictions, and for offenses committed within 1,000 feet of a school. For offenses involving more than 100 grams of marijuana, the judge will suspend the defendant’s driver’s license for at least six months (and up to five years).
Oklahoma It is a crime to knowingly or intentionally possess marijuana (including small amounts for personal use) in Oklahoma. In addition to a possible fine, the judge will sentence a defendant to up to a year in jail for a first offense, and between two and ten years in prison for a second or subsequent offense.
Oregon Up to one ounce: Oregon has decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana. Violations are considered misdemeanors that incur a fine between $500 and $1,000, but no jail time. However, if this offense occurs within 1,000 feet of a school, penalties increase, with a fine of up to $1,250, up to 30 days in jail, or both.
Pennsylvania It is a crime to knowingly or intentionally possess marijuana in Pennsylvania. For amounts up to 30 grams, penalties include a fine of up to $500, up to 30 days in jail, or both. Convictions for possessing 30 grams or more are punishable with a fine of up to $5,000, up to one year in jail, or both.
Rhode Island
It is a crime to knowingly or intentionally possess marijuana in Rhode Island. Penalties include a fine of between $200 and $500, up to one year in jail, or both; and may increase for second and subsequent convictions. The judge may also order participation in a drug counseling or education program, and community service. 
South Carolina It is a crime to knowingly or intentionally possess up to one ounce of marijuana in South Carolina. Amounts exceeding one ounce are treated as trafficking crimes, explained below in "Manufacture, Distribution, and Trafficking." Penalties for possession vary according to whether the offense is a first or subsequent conviction.
South Dakota Two ounces or less: Penalties include a fine of up to $1,000, up to one year in jail, or both.  More than two ounces but less than one-half of a pound: Penalties include a fine of up to $2,000, up to two years in prison, or both.
Tennessee It is a crime to possess marijuana in Tennessee. It is also illegal to causally exchange (that is, with no payment) up to and including one half of an ounce of marijuana. Penalties vary according to the conviction, and increased penalties apply to offenses involving a minor.
Texas Two ounces or less: Penalties include a fine of up to $2,000, up to 180 days in jail, or both.  More than two ounces, but less than four ounces: Penalties include a fine of up to $4,000, up to one year in jail, or both.
Utah It is a crime to possess marijuana in Utah. It is also illegal to causally exchange (that is, with no payment) up to and including one half of an ounce of marijuana. Penalties vary according to the conviction, and increased penalties apply to offenses involving a minor. 
Vermont Less than two ounces; up to two plants (first offense): Penalties include a fine of up to $500, up to six months in jail, or both.  Less than two ounces; up to two plants (second and subsequent offenses): Penalties include a fine of up to $2,000, up to two years in prison, or both.
Virginia First conviction: Penalties include a fine of up to $500, up to 30 days in jail, or both.  Second conviction: Penalties include a fine of up to $2,500, up to one year in jail, or both.
Washington It used to be a crime to knowingly or intentionally possess marijuana in Washington. However, with the passage of Initiative 502 in 2012, adults are now free to possess up to one ounce of cannabis for their own private use.
West Virginia It is a crime to possess any amount of marijuana in West Virginia. Penalties include a fine of up to $1,000, between 90 days and 6 months in jail, or both.
Wisconsin It is a crime to possess any amount of marijuana in Wisconsin. Penalties vary according to whether the offense is a first or subsequent conviction, with 100 hours of community service in addition to these penalties for possession within 1,000 feet of a school, youth center, public park, pool, housing project, jail, or drug treatment facility.
Wyoming A defendant convicted of using or being under the influence of marijuana will be fined up to $750, spend up to six months in jail, or both. And while not covered here, additional penalties apply to driving while under the influence.


But the problem remaining is this: A Federal agent can arrest you anywhere in the United States if you possess marijuana or have the remains of pot on your smoking apparatus, like a bong, a pipe, or a hookah, despite some of the states allowing it for recreational use, medicinal purposes, or both. Marijuana is illegal for it is a controlled substance under federal law, with no recognized legitimate value. 

Inflammation, stress, spasms, and seizures apparently don't count when it comes to "no recognized legitimate value." The cannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors in the brain are known to regulate inflammation by acting on the cannabinoid receptors of immune cells and works on the aforementioned conditions as well.

Some people argue that it is a gateway to stronger drugs, but from all indications, that isn't true unless you want it to be. Painkillers can lead a person to heroin and other strong drugs but not marijuana by itself. And nobody ever died from marijuana use. The most that happens is that people fall asleep from inhaling too much, depending on their size and weight. 

People shouldn't drive if they smoke too much because they might be pulled over by the police and charged with Driving Under the Influence(DUI). The nation's largest automobile club, AAA, says marijuana tests are bogus when it comes to DUI and cops rely on the strong smell of marijuana alone.

Josh Harkinson says that "it's probably only a matter of time before legalization sweeps the nation." For me, who gets inflammation and spasms every night, "a matter of time" isn't soon enough.