The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > General Questions

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 03-04-2006, 01:31 AM
The Universe Lashes Out The Universe Lashes Out is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Are Marijuana Brownies illegal?

I'm thinking no. There's not actually any marijuana in there, just butter that has absorbed some THC. And the marijuana is the illegal part, right? Sure it was illegal to make them in the first place, but unless some state has made some sort of crazy law specifically referring to food products made from marijuana, I would think the brownies themselves would be legal.

Plus it would be hard to prove. "Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, this is exhibit A: a tray of brownies seized from the defendant. Take one each and if you are stoned off your ass in a couple hours, the defendant is guilty!"

Moderators, this is simply a theoretical question, asked mostly out of curiosity about our laws.
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 03-04-2006, 01:50 AM
pkbites pkbites is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Majikal Land O' Cheeze!
Posts: 7,992
Quote:
Originally Posted by HowieReynolds
I'm thinking no. There's not actually any marijuana in there, just butter that has absorbed some THC.



Think again. The active ingredient Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is what's illegal. In most states the laws read to the effect "possession of THC". So anything that tests positive for it is evidence of possession of THC, whether it be residue in a pipe or brownies. There need not be any leaf present, only the THC.
And contrary to what some may think, it is illegal to possess even minute' amounts of it. If theres enough to turn the chem-test positive your busted.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 03-04-2006, 01:54 AM
Walloon Walloon is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: America's Dairyland
Posts: 12,780
From the Controlled Substances Act:
Quote:
The term "marihuana" means all parts of the plant Cannabis sativa L., whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of such plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such plant, its seeds or resin.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 03-04-2006, 02:11 AM
Eleusis Eleusis is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
There was a lady who got away with selling primo brownies at one of my favorite Chicago bars, for years. Yes, I was one of her best customers.

I heard it through the grapevine she finally got busted last year, right after I moved down here.

It was a big mess, and IIRC the bar also was forced to close for a few weeks.

Funniest thing about it, when I first entered that bar, this chick was always stationed at the illegal "Cherry Master" gambling machine... basically a slot machine that didn't pay o.ut.... when you're ready you go the bartender.

Chicago cracked down on cherry masters only maybe three years ago.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 03-04-2006, 02:56 AM
Larry Mudd Larry Mudd is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Years ago, (statute of limitations-type years ago,) I used to make baked goods for a weekly reggae jam and weed cuisine bash that had a huge and ever-changing variety of goodies to nosh on, ranging from classic brownies and cookies to more elaborate desserts to green-buttered popcorn, creamy lasagna and other hot meals, and hash lassi. (Gotta love Vancouver.)

It was cool at first, but it had to be shut down because there was a small element that kept showing up with underage (and even very small) children and feeding them drugged food, couldn't be persuaded to knock it off, and kept trying to blackmail the organizers to allow it on the grounds that there was a hall full of contraband subtances that the authorities would just love to hear about. What the hell do you do about that?

[Cartman]
Goddammit I hate hippies.
[/Cartman]
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 03-04-2006, 06:33 AM
Fear Itself Fear Itself is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: 847 mi. from Cecil
Posts: 28,736
Quote:
Originally Posted by HowieReynolds
I'm thinking no. There's not actually any marijuana in there, just butter that has absorbed some THC.
That's not how I made pot brownies.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 03-04-2006, 09:38 AM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: NY but not NYC
Posts: 23,576
Every time somebody asks about one of these obvious loopholes, I have to wonder how stupid they think lawmakers are, not to mention the rest of the public. Have you heard about the entire pot-using population of the United States enjoying legal marijuana brownies all these years? No? If they were legal, then why wouldn't everybody use them? Why would cancer patients who baked them for relief of their symptoms be arrested?

One thing the government learned from Prohibition is that if something is illegal to make it also needs to make it illegal to use.

And there was another silly thread in which someone asked why laws were written in legal language. If you look at the quote from the Controlled Substances act, you'll see why. It's to ensure that the law says what it's intended to mean in language that courts can apply, so that simple obvious loopholes are properly excluded.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 03-04-2006, 04:41 PM
Larry Mudd Larry Mudd is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
A side effect of the way the law is written (also in Canada) is that penalties can be dependant on the total weight of the product -- there is no consideration of how much psychoactive goodies we're talking about.

So when they bust a grow-op, they weigh the bud, leaves, stalk, and rootballs -- and that's how much "marijuana" the culprits are in possession of.

If the marijuana is manicured (and dried,) then there's less "marijuana" to consider.

If it's been processed into brownies -- there's more. Say you start with a cup-and-a-half of sacred ghee, and then bake it up with a couple of cups of flour, three eggs, two cups of sugar, some dark chocolate, vanilla beans, vegetable oil, etc... Effectively you've just magically transformed all those pantry items into contraband. It's possible that you could start with an amount of marijuana that's below a certain sentencing threshold and cut your own throat by deciding to have a hipster's bake sale and processing it into product that's on the other side of that threshold.

Sorry, Charlie.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 03-04-2006, 05:12 PM
Saint Cad Saint Cad is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase
And there was another silly thread in which someone asked why laws were written in legal language. If you look at the quote from the Controlled Substances act, you'll see why. It's to ensure that the law says what it's intended to mean in language that courts can apply, so that simple obvious loopholes are properly excluded.
Which can lead to some wacky illegal substances.
Because hydrochloric gas is used in the production of methamphetamines, Alaska Code Section 11.71.200 makes it illegal to posess any salts of it. One of these salts is sodium chloride, otherwise known as common table salt.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 03-04-2006, 07:32 PM
The Universe Lashes Out The Universe Lashes Out is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase
If they were legal, then why wouldn't everybody use them?
Think about it for a second. It would still be illegal to buy or possess marijuana. You think Little Debbie is going to buy kilos of weed to start making Happy Cakes just because said Happy Cakes would be legal? I somehow doubt it. I just thought it would be possible that an end stage of the marijuana process, which no longer involves any marijuana itself, might be legal.

If the possession of THC itself is a crime, is having it in your fat cells considered illegal? I've heard that actually being high is a crime in some jurisdictions, how common is that? What if you've just eaten a brownie and have a little bit stuck in your teeth, is that illegal?
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 03-05-2006, 01:21 PM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: NY but not NYC
Posts: 23,576
Quote:
Originally Posted by HowieReynolds
Think about it for a second. It would still be illegal to buy or possess marijuana. You think Little Debbie is going to buy kilos of weed to start making Happy Cakes just because said Happy Cakes would be legal? I somehow doubt it. I just thought it would be possible that an end stage of the marijuana process, which no longer involves any marijuana itself, might be legal.
As others have said, the notion that marijuana brownies don't contain marijuana is wrong. Not just wrong, but hysterically wrong. If there's no pot left, then what makes you high? Are you saying that marijuana brownies are like homeopathic medicines where the magic memory of the molecules imprints itself without any of the substance being present? Ludicrous.

And what's with the Little Debbie nonsense? If pot is illegal to sell, then you'd still get the brownies through the same informal distribution system as today. The only difference is that if it's legal to possess, your Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination comes into play and large legal cans of worms are opened. Which is why no laws are written this way.

Quote:
If the possession of THC itself is a crime, is having it in your fat cells considered illegal? I've heard that actually being high is a crime in some jurisdictions, how common is that? What if you've just eaten a brownie and have a little bit stuck in your teeth, is that illegal?
The definition of possession is actually written into the laws of each jurisdiction, just as I said before. And if you don't think having THC is your fat cells or other body parts is a problem, let me know what happens the next time you fail a drug test.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 03-05-2006, 01:44 PM
Larry Mudd Larry Mudd is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Quote:
Originally Posted by HowieReynolds
Think about it for a second. It would still be illegal to buy or possess marijuana. You think Little Debbie is going to buy kilos of weed to start making Happy Cakes just because said Happy Cakes would be legal?
Think about this for a second: In less time that it takes to cure marijuana, you could make a bunch of purified ghee with it (or extract it into olive oil,) rendering it, to your way of thinking, legal to possess.

It's not marijuana; it's just a quantity of psychoactive animal/vegetable fat. You could quickly process it into any number of things (including many products that can be stored for extended periods of time) that would actually be more profitable to sell than cured weed.

If this were legal, it sure would take a lot of stress out of things. I'll tell ya, when I was a bad boy, if I could have taken my goodies out the front door in the form of buzzy butterscotch candies without worring about them being heaty, I would never have driven around with a hockey-bag full of weed. I'd have cut my girls down and made them into "legal" products before I ever considered moving them.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 03-05-2006, 02:22 PM
The Universe Lashes Out The Universe Lashes Out is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase
As others have said, the notion that marijuana brownies don't contain marijuana is wrong. Not just wrong, but hysterically wrong. If there's no pot left, then what makes you high?
The same thing that makes you high when you smoke marijuana: THC. The process of making brownies, by my understanding, extracts THC from the plant, and the plant is then discarded. I now understand that the THC itself is illegal, but there is a distinction between THC and marijuana.

Quote:
Are you saying that marijuana brownies are like homeopathic medicines where the magic memory of the molecules imprints itself without any of the substance being present? Ludicrous.
I am not, in fact, saying anything like that. I have no idea what that means or how you came to think it would be reasonable interpretation of anything I've said.

Quote:
And what's with the Little Debbie nonsense? If pot is illegal to sell, then you'd still get the brownies through the same informal distribution system as today.
The Little Debbie comment means that even if brownies were legal, there wouldn't suddenly be an open market for them as you seemed to suggest earlier. It would still be illegal to make them.

Quote:
The only difference is that if it's legal to possess, your Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination comes into play and large legal cans of worms are opened. Which is why no laws are written this way.
In Alaska, it is currently legal to possess less than 4 ounces of marijuana in your home. So clearly SOME laws are written that way. I don't claim to be a constitutional law scholar, but I am completely missing what the Fifth Amendment has to do with any of this. What large legal can of worms has been opened by Alaska's law?

Quote:
The definition of possession is actually written into the laws of each jurisdiction, just as I said before. And if you don't think having THC is your fat cells or other body parts is a problem, let me know what happens the next time you fail a drug test.
What happens when someone fails a drug test is generally that they don't get the job they had applied for. Obviously sometimes passing drug tests is a requirement of probation, and failing one can get you arrested, but those are special circumstances. I'm asking if it's illegal to be carrying around THC in your fat cells.

Exapno Mapcase, I would like to thank you for your insults and condescending attitude towards someone asking a simple question. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 03-05-2006, 02:26 PM
The Universe Lashes Out The Universe Lashes Out is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Mudd
If this were legal, it sure would take a lot of stress out of things. I'll tell ya, when I was a bad boy, if I could have taken my goodies out the front door in the form of buzzy butterscotch candies without worring about them being heaty, I would never have driven around with a hockey-bag full of weed. I'd have cut my girls down and made them into "legal" products before I ever considered moving them.
On another note, how come you didn't do that anyway? A hockey bag full of butterscotch candies at least looks legal. Even though it is illegal, wouldn't it be almost impossible to get caught that way?
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 03-05-2006, 02:39 PM
Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Dogpatch/Middle TN.
Posts: 28,605
Quote:
Originally Posted by HowieReynolds
I'm thinking no. .
BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA!

And he's in freaking Texas, yet!

Oh dude! In Texas you can get busted for just thinking about any form of amusement.
__________________
FRIENDS! ROMANS! COUNTRY BUMPKINS!
Lend me your auditory canals!
Ask not what your clones can do for you, but what you can do for country music!
Never in the field of conflict was so much owed by so many who only had a few!
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 03-05-2006, 03:15 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: The Land of Cleves
Posts: 54,536
Quote:
Which can lead to some wacky illegal substances.
Because hydrochloric gas is used in the production of methamphetamines, Alaska Code Section 11.71.200 makes it illegal to posess any salts of it. One of these salts is sodium chloride, otherwise known as common table salt.
I was curious about this, so I went looking for more information. The law in question does prohibit hydrochloric gas (item 22), but it doesn't say anything about its salts, or even the more commonly-found aqueous solution (what most folks would consider "hydrochloric acid"). Given that several of the other substances on that list do explicitly include salts (and esters and isomers and other related chemical compounds), I think it's safe to say that table salt is still legal in Alaska. Or at least, if it's illegal, it's due to some other statute.
__________________
Time travels in divers paces with divers persons.
--As You Like It, III:ii:328
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 03-05-2006, 04:45 PM
Larry Mudd Larry Mudd is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Quote:
Originally Posted by HowieReynolds
On another note, how come you didn't do that anyway? A hockey bag full of butterscotch candies at least looks legal. Even though it is illegal, wouldn't it be almost impossible to get caught that way?
I suppose an honest answer would be that, while doing so would probably increase the actual value of the yield, the demand for orally-administered cannabis products isn't great enough to make it feasible. You'd have to create a new market -- and that poses a problem when your product is illegal; you can't really promote it in the usual ways. If it wasn't illegal, it would be a snap to convert into cash -- practically every coffee shop down on Commercial Drive would be all over those.

That being said, I did make batches in limited volume (though explicitly with "bullet-y" bud and sweetleaf left over from manicuring -- not the top buds,) which was apparently popular with club kids and Phish-heads because it wasn't obviously contraband.

I also made oil capsules that would knock you on your ass if you took more than one or two, and keep you buzzed for hours. Those that liked them, really liked them -- but I think it was just too unfamiliar for your garden-variety head, for whom rolling vegetable matter into a tube, burning it, and drawing the smoke into their lungs seems more "natural" than swallowing an extract in capsule form. Consumer resistance to the idea of an alternative delivery method made it more profitable to deliver cured, manicured herb than to process it in any way.

Of course, I don't do anything like that now. Had a minor brush with the law which was a pretty strong reminder of why it ain't worth it. For a first offense, the penalty was basically nothing -- but screw up again and they're not so tolerant, even up here. I don't think I'd fair well in a prison environment. No thanks.
Reply With Quote
Reply



Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:11 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC.