Beard Bros. Pharms Cannabis Laws Road Trip - Part 4: The South

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You’ve got shotgun for the next stretch of the Beard Bros. Pharms 50 State Cannabis Laws Road Trip but you’re going want to keep that stash concealed as we soak up some Southern Hospitality in some less than weed-friendly territory

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Texas
Medical Use – Limited (CBD only)
Recreational Use – No
Home Cultivation – No

It’s been said that the best thing to ever come out of Texas is Interstate 10, but it’s driving into the nation’s 2nd largest state that you need to be cautious about, especially if you are carrying any sort of cannabis.

One border checkpoint in particular, the Sierra Blanca Border Patrol Checkpoint, arrests an average of 12 people every day on cannabis charges and has sidelined the tours of celebs like Fiona Apple, Snoop Dogg, and Willie Nelson when weed was discovered onboard their bus.

Possession of any amount is a misdemeanor in the Lone Star State that could very well earn you a $2,000 fine AND 180 days in jail. If you’re busted with over 2 zips of flower the fine doubles and the jail term goes up to a year.

If you think that is harsh, their hash/concentrate laws are even worse. Simply put, in the state of Texas cannabis extracts are not considered cannabis. Possession of ANY amount is a felony offense with up to a $10,000 fine and a mandatory minimum sentence of 180 days up to two fuckin’ years!

Between 1-4 grams carries the same fine but they can lock you up for an entire decade… over an 8th of bubble hash.

There is no home cultivation and any plants seized will be weighed aggregately with stems, stalks, roots, etc. and that weight will be applied to the possession penalty chart and you’ll be at the mercy of some good ol’ boy bullshit with your freedom on the line.

There is a medical marijuana program in place in the state, but it is restricted to severely ill epilepsy patients who are provided with CBD-only cannabis oil and no smokeable flower/extract or edible products. Prospective patients need to find two separate doctors in the state to sign off on their condition to be considered. No home cultivation is allowed.

Those who could find great benefit from cannabis for a wide spectrum of ailments are left relying on the black market and a highly punitive legal system.

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Arkansas
Medical Use – Yes
Recreational Use – No
Home Cultivation – No

You’ll find little relief crossing from Texas into Arkansas when it comes to cannabis.

Arkansas does have a much more useful medical marijuana program in place but the entire system is mired in lawsuits and fraud after a would-be patient sued the state when it was discovered that massive bribes were being exchanged by companies seeking cultivation licensing.

Until all of these lawsuits play out, the state has put the program on pause to the detriment of those who qualify for medical marijuana but now must wait to legally get some.

Those who do not qualify or cannot wait must face some of the strictest anti-cannabis laws in the nation.

Any possession carries a potential $2,500 fine and a year in jail.

There is no home cultivation.

According to the Marijuana Policy Project, in 2012 there were 5,718 arrests for weed in Arkansas and 90% of them were for mere possession. In that same period, 91% of home burglaries and 90% of auto thefts went unsolved.

Keep driving, buds.

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Louisiana
Medical Use – Yes
Recreational Use – No
Home Cultivation – No

53% of people polled in Louisiana think that cannabis should be regulated and legalized for recreational use by anyone over the age of 21.

It may be a while before they progress that far on weed, though they plan to have cannabis flowing through nine different MMJ dispensaries by the end of the summer. All of the weed for those outlets is grown at either Louisiana State University or Southern University – so no home cultivation.

In fact, getting caught growing any weed illegally could put you in prison for 5-30 years!

The state only has 11 doctors qualified to refer patients to the MMJ program but they continue to expand the list of qualifying conditions as those patients anxiously await the start of retail sales.

As we are seeing far too often though, no smokable forms of cannabis will be available.

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Tennessee
Medical Use – Limited
Recreational Use – No
Home Cultivation – No

Lawmakers in Tennessee filed over 30 cannabis-related motions throughout the 2017-2018 legislative session and exactly none of them were enacted. Maybe they should switch strains…

The most comprehensive medical marijuana bill that was proposed became so watered down and weak that it was killed by its own author who feared it would just delay actual reform if passed.

81% of Tennessee residents support sensible medical cannabis reform but will they get it?

For now, their pot laws suck.

Possession of any amount – even on a first offense - can result in a year in jail.

Growing 10 plants or less is a felony carrying a $5,000 fine and 1-6 years in prison.

One interesting tidbit, however, is that since their weak MMJ laws do not allow for legal sales in the state, Tennessee will allow its registered MMJ patients to possess extremely low-THC oil that they bought out of state, as long as they can prove where they got it.

Republican Governor Bill Haslam recently reversed democratically instituted cannabis decriminalization laws in Nashville and Memphis, claiming, “State government law preempts local government enactments with respect to the regulation of and appropriate sanctions for conduct involving drugs and other similar substances.”

If things are going to change, he’s got to go!

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Mississippi
Medical Use – Limited
Recreational Use – No
Home Cultivation – No

Another state, another CBD-only form of medical “marijuana”.

Home of the University of Mississippi which hosts the only federal cannabis production facility in the US, it was there that the famed strain MK Ultra was allegedly smuggled away from the government and released to the cannabis community sometime in the 1970s.

Cool story, bro but your weed laws also suck.

Possession and cultivation are frowned upon.

Being busted with under an ounce of flower isn’t so bad – usually a fine of $250, but over an ounce and you’re looking at a felony with 1-3 in the clink. And get this, they have a category for possession of under 0.1 grams of concentrates – it’ll get you a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Ridiculous. Between 0.1g and 3g can put you behind bars for 3 years with a $50,000 fine. Even more ridiculous.

The state’s MMJ program is severely limited in its scope – only allowed for patients with debilitating seizures and only in CBD form. The cannabis for the medication is grown at local universities and there is no regulatory system for retail outlets.

Another Republican Governor backed by Republican Senators and Congressmen refusing to get on board with the positive aspects of the cannabis plant.

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Alabama
Medical Use – Limited
Recreational Use – No
Home Cultivation – No

More of the same.

CBD-only legislation is offensive.
Thank goodness for every patient it actually helps but those numbers pale in comparison to those left behind.

Simple possession – one year in jail and a $6,000 fine.
Unless, of course, they determine that your weed wasn’t just for personal use, then you get that mandatory minimum of 1-10 years plus a $15k fine.

Got hash? Any amount is $15k and 1 year plus 1 day in jail.

Growing a plant? $30k in fines and a mandatory minimum of 2-20 years locked up. Same penalties for sales.

With archaic mandatory minimum sentencing and zero compassion for cannabis, we can see why Forrest Gump ran the fuck away from here.

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North Carolina
Medical Use – Limited
Recreational Use – No
Home Cultivation – No

Though the state has decriminalized cannabis possession, North Carolina is yet another southern state that adds insult to injury by passing neutered CBD-only legislation and then failing to install a regulated retail outlet to actually get the medication.

On the recreational use side, most low-level possession, sales, and cultivation will bring reduced fines and jail time but even a dollar out of your pocket or a minute behind bars is an assault on your sovereignty.

The state also proudly enforced civil asset forfeiture, stating: Seized property is not subject to be returned to the owner unless he can prove in a forfeiture proceeding that he is the owner and was unaware that it was being used in the violation.

Civil asset forfeiture unfairly incentivizes cash-strapped police departments to refill their Christmas party coffers with low-level busts of non-violent potheads.

Another barf-worthy caveat is that if you sell weed to an undercover agent and get busted, they want a refund too.

On June 1st of this year, Senator Paul Lowe introduced SB 791 which would essentially decriminalize possession of up to 4 zips of flower and would expunge prior convictions of 4 zips or less from people’s permanent records. That is a step in the right direction but decriminalization only aids half the weed game – it still leaves the supply side (growers, sellers) hung out to dry.

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South Carolina
Medical Use – Limited
Recreational Use – No
Home Cultivation – No

Ok, where’s the weed at?
ARE WE THERE YET?

We’d love to spice it up a bit but honestly, just read what’s going on in North Carolina and you’ll pretty much be caught up on its namesake neighbor to the south.

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Georgia
Medical Use – Limited
Recreational Use – No
Home Cultivation – No

Welcome to Georgia where you’ll find more CBD-only laws, more inhumanely harsh penalties for possession, and one more state to totally avoid if you tend to travel with weed.

If they pop you with under an ounce of bud, they’ll nab you for a grand in fines and put you in the slammer for up to a year. Anything over an ounce and it gets really scary, with mandatory minimum sentencing of 1-10 years.

Under a gram of wax, 1-3 years mandatory minimum.
Over a gram could potentially put you behind bars for 30 years.

Similarly, evil mandatory minimums are in place for sales and cultivation as well.

Hell, even if you “abandon” your weed in a public place they’ll toss you in jail for a year when they catch you. Same penalty if you are caught using your phone or computer in relation to any cannabis-related felony, they tack on a year to your sentence (#socialmediasnitching)

Their MMJ program is CBD only and has no regulatory system in place for patients to actually buy the product. Currently, roughly 4,000 patients are enrolled in a university “study” in order to get their meds.

We’re gonna keep on truckin’ and hope that our old home state of Florida will finally have something worth smoking!

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Florida
Medical Use – Yes
Recreational Use – No
Home Cultivation – No

In 2016 over 70% of Florida voters approved the state’s new medical marijuana program but it seems that somewhere around 0% of them realized that it would not include flowers, nugs, buds and other traditional forms of smokable cannabis.

A circuit court judge ruled earlier this year that the ban is unconstitutional and lifted it but the state’s Department of Health has appealed and the issue remains in legal limbo though the future looks bright for medical cannabis in Florida with projected annual sales of over $1.5 Billion in MMJ alone by 2021.

Florida’s medical marijuana program recently topped 100,000 registered patients but none of them are allowed to grow their own at home.

Cannabis possession, cultivation, and sales outside of the regulated MMJ program carry stiff penalties and the threat of serious jail time.

With regulated dispensaries and some actual THC to sell in them, Florida still has some work to do but is a welcome respite for any terp-fueled travelers.

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Holy smokes!

If the oppressive humidity, jurassic sized mosquitos, and constant threat of hurricanes don’t get you, the ass-backward weed laws in the South just might. Some of these Southern states made the Midwest seem like Amsterdam.

A key thing to remember when traveling through harshly anti-cannabis regions is to always know your rights. The “Pot Brothers at Law” offer a simple 25-word script that they say all cannabis users need to memorize and employ anytime they are confronted by law enforcement on the road:

WHY DID YOU PULL ME OVER
I'M NOT DISCUSSING MY DAY
AM I BEING DETAINED OR AM I FREE TO GO
(if detained you say) I INVOKE THE 5TH

…then you SHUT THE FUCK UP!

Well, buds, we are now on the home stretch of the Beard Bros. Pharms 50 State Cannabis Laws Road Trip as we set our sights north to explore the state of weed on the (b)East Coast – you can catch that final installment in the series next Monday.

“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

PART 1 - The West Coast
PART 2 - The Midwest
PART 3 - The Central States

We routinely reference these websites to stay a step ahead and recommend that you do too:

www.mpp.org
https://norml.org
https://thecannabisindustry.org

*this information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice