Since November smoking marijuana is legal in California and it got everybody talking ever since. While Californians are happy to take advantage of their new freedom, it has also caused a number of controversies. After the legalization, many employees are wondering how the drug testing policies at their workplace will change, if at all. It has brought up another major question as well. Is it legal for residents of California to smoke weed absolutely everywhere? No. But apparently, some people got it wrong. Many recreational marijuana users are getting caught and arrested in California’s national parks.
What marijuana users should know
The federal government says that it will still enact laws that would prohibit people who smoke marijuana in some areas. Those will include federal lands such as national parks, monuments, and recreational areas.
Those places were heavy with marijuana-related arrests even before the legalization. In the past two years, Yosemite issued 465 cannabis citations and 123 arrests. So, you can imagine how the numbers will rise in the wake of the recent pro-weed changes. Yosemite is the state’s most visited park and has a history of such incidents more than any other national park in the U.S.
People might have a wrong idea that smoking marijuana is legal absolutely everywhere now. It could be due to the fact that many don’t realize the difference between an ordinary California park and places like Yosemite or Redwood. What changes everything is that the latter are under federal control. Visiting the latter equals being under a totally different jurisdiction.
How are other states doing?
In states like Washington smoking marijuana is also legal, however, the laws are way stricter on federal lands. Those aren’t serious enough to put someone in jail. However, guilty parties will have to pay fine or appear in court.
While Colorado seems to be the most at ease state when it comes to pot. Very few people there got into trouble for having cannabis in national parks. So, as any other law, the restrictions fully depend on the state where the federal lands are.
Compared to Colorado, which legalized marijuana in 2012, California is still new to this business. Meaning, a lot of new changes and modification are yet to come. California states that it will be harsh on prohibiting cannabis use in national parks and federal lands. However, some experts expect different results. They think that pot-related citations will soon decrease in California. It’s hard to tell for sure now, but the time will tell.