Even messier than gay marriage, the wild inconsistencies of marijuana policies across the nation are really too chaotic for anyone to keep up with. In the span of a week, the federal government came out in support of medical marijuana, and two states neighboring Colorado sued the weed mecca over its lax laws.
Congress's shift on medical marijuana policy came rolled up in a massive spending bill that President Barack Obama signed into law on Tuesday. For the first time, the federal government is giving individual states the option to decide whether weed has any medicinal value.
At the same time, Nebraska and Oklahoma are trying to have their own say in whether Colorado gets to have medical and recreational marijuana. They've asked the Supreme Court to renege on Colorado's full legalization in a well-if-we-won't-give-our-people-nice-things-you-can't-have-them-either lawsuit, citing difficulties prosecuting marijuana possession spillage at the border.
Caught in the middle of the shitstorm are parents trying to treat their kids' chronic pain and patients stopped on the road between states.
For one, Minnesota mother Angela Brown's case has been riling up legalization advocates ever since she was charged with child endangerment for treating her son's traumatic brain injury with cannabis oil, only months before Minnesota would legalize it anyway.
More recently, Colorado resident Benjamin Hallgren was pulled over for a faulty headlight on his way to visit his parents in Minnesota and charged with a felony for having weed chocolate in his car. Police noticed Hallgren had a bong sticking out of one of his backpacks and asked what other weed products he had on board.
Hallgren says he handed it all over -- a small black bag with pot in it as well as his supply of cannabis-infused chocolate bars in the truck. Police weighed the entire chocolate bar instead of reading the packages, which listed the amount of actual cannabis in each one. They locked Hallgren up for carrying about two pounds of pot candy amounting to seven ounces of cannabis -- well under the 12 ounces his prescription for medical marijuana allows.
Sitting in jail for two days, Hallgren had a lot of time to worry about how much it costs to fight a felony and how much the whole ordeal would burden his father, who has since died from cancer.
"Now, after my dad's passing I have become angry," he says. "The one thought I had after being in jail that was the strongest, was how immoral our laws are. Nonviolent offenders put into jail is not the answer."
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