Marijuana legalization is gaining momentum across America, but not all states are making progress. Although the number of states where recreational weed is legal could double from 8 to 16 in 2018, it might take decades for other districts to get onboard with reform.
These 5 states will probably be the last to repeal cannabis prohibition.
5. Nebraska and Oklahoma (tie)
Nebraska decriminalized cannabis in 1979, but that's about as far as the midwestern state is willing to take reform for the time being. Right now, Nebraska is actually teaming up with Oklahoma to overturn legalization in a neighboring state.
Since 2014, Nebraska and Oklahoma have been involved in lawsuits challenging Colorado's legalization regime because it's supposedly disrupting law and order in other districts. According to State Attorney General Doug Peterson, the legal market in Colorado is fuelling black markets in Nebraska and Oklahoma, which makes enforcing prohibition more difficult and expensive for those states.
So they want the feds to shutdown the pot party in Colorado. That means we shouldn't expect either state to repeal prohibition anytime soon...unless AG Peterson believes in the 'if you can't beat 'em, join 'em' adage.
3. South Dakota
Few states have marijuana laws that are harsher than South Dakota's.
You can face up to a year in jail for simply living in a place where marijuana is consumed. So your roommate could turn into your cellmate if he gets busted at your pad -- even if you never touched a single joint.
South Dakota also takes a zero-tolerance approach to hash and other concentrates. You can be thrown in jail for up to 5 years or slapped with a $10,000 fine for possessing any amount of hash. Which is lenient compared to the 25-year sentence faced by anyone caught selling over a pound of marijuana. That's a quarter of a century for a Ziploc bag's worth of weed.
And while 94 percent of Americans support legalizing medical marijuana, South Dakotans have voted down the issue twice in the last dozen years. The results weren't even close either. In 2010, 63 percent of voters cast ballots against medical cannabis.
Alabama leads every other state when it comes to the worst mandatory minimum sentences for marijuana. Anyone caught selling 1,000 pounds of marijuana or more faces a mandatory life sentence. That's a life sentence for selling a plant -- not for killing anyone or committing acts of terrorism. Just selling a plant. And if 1,000 lbs. seems like a lot, keep in mind that it's the same weight as about 10 kegs of beer.
On top of that, people caught with even trace amounts of cannabis -- like a little resin in a pipe -- face up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $6,000. And if you're busted twice for possession, you could face up to 5 years in prison.
For these reasons, the Marijuana Policy Project says that chances of improving Alabama's marijuana laws "remain limited." Yeah, about as limited as the chances of Alabama's own Jeff 'I thought the KKK were okay till I found out they smoked pot' Sessions winning the NAACP's Image Award.
Idaho is one of the few states where it's illegal to be high in public. If you're caught with THC in your system while visiting Boise, you could face up to six months in jail or a $1,000 fine. And if you get caught a second time within 5 years of your first offence, you could wind up getting a year to sober up in jail.
That's fine with the locals, apparently. According to a 2014 poll, 64 percent of Idahoans opposed legalizing medical marijuana.
And that strong prohibitionist majority includes Governor "Butch" Otter, who vetoed a bill to legalize CBD (a cannabis extract that doesn't get you high) in 2015. And last February, ol' "Butch" called on President Trump to crack down on states that have defied federal prohibition by legalizing cannabis. So he and Attorney General Jeff "good people don't smoke marijuana" Sessions are pretty much BFF's now.
h/t Canna Law Blog