How illegal is illegal? (weed)

Here in Austria it is legal to sell or own a pipe, bong or anything else you need to smoke weed, as long as you dont own any weed.

However from a friend I know, that you dont neccerely have to own weed to get in conflict with the law.
If a bloodtest suggesting that you have smoked at some point of your life gets into their hands and some asshole claims he saw you smoking that is enough to put a drivers licence into far distance too. (you dont get one easily if you have ever been caught).
Here if you own 4 gramm they most certainly will treat you as “dealer” (which means that you wont have to worry about accomodation for a while).

Laws seem to differ a lot - so how is it where you are?

I’ve not used weed in 15 years, and that was just a few recreational use times, so I’m not well-versed in the laws regarding it. However, I do have a general impression on US laws.

Posession of MJ seems to be less an issue with law officials than distribution. If you have over a certain amount, it’s assumed you were intending to distribute it and are charged as such.

Laws against drug use are at the state level; the US gov’t is concerned with importation, sale, and distribution. IIRC, two states have legalized or decriminalized possesion and use. But of course, in these states if you want to get some, you’re going to violate the US statutes. If you have a green thumb, you might try growing your own. But by the time you have a big enough plant to harvest, you’ve also passed the distribution threshhold.

Admitting to MJ use long after the fact doesn’t seem to stir too much controversy. Our last president admitted to using it (although not inhaling :rolleyes: ). For gov’t security clearances, they ask you about past drug use (they test you to make sure you currently don’t use, though). They don’t want to weed out (no pun intended) people with a past (who doesn’t have one?); they’re really looking for the truth. That way, if you happen to be in an influential position and one of your pot-smoking buddies from 1966 tries to blackmail you, you can shrug it off. (Also asked are any sexual “habits” you might have. :smiley: )

Although I wouldn’t want a country full of MJ users, the criminalization of it is doing exactly what Prohibition did in the 1920’s.

I don’t know much detail about it, but in Britain, a conviction for cannabis possession will not affect your driving licence (as far as I can see) and I think it most unlikely that 4 grammes would be enough to be considered dealing. Assuming 1 ounce to be 28 grammes, 4 grammes is likely to be regarded as being for personal use. (Of course, it could be different if Mr. Plod already has some serious reasons to concern himself with you!) The law wouldn’t like it, but the penalty is likely to be a fine, or possibly “go away and don’t do it again.”

Here in Australia, it still remains a criminal offence in most states to possess cannabis.

In the state of South Australia it has been decriminalised (as opposed to legalised) to possess small amounts for personal use. If caught, you are issued with an infringement notice similar to a traffic ticket, and my understanding is that you are not required to go to court (unless you wish to contest the charge). Dealing in cannabis in South Australia remains a criminal offence.

An upshot of the decriminalisation in South Australia is that the other states have been flooded with cheap South Aussie weed, and many former growers have found it’s no longer worth the effort.

From memory, the police in the state of New South Wales (where I live) use five as the number of plants with which you can be caught, and still merely charged with “cultivation for personal use”. Any number above that, and they try to nail you for “cultivation with intent to sell”, which carries a much harsher penalty.

In Britain, there’s been a fairly big debate over the legality of MJ (specially when used for medial purposes) going on for several months. the Police Federation ahve supported an inquiry that recommended possession of cannabis should be effectively decriminalised (and also recommended that ecstasy and LSD should be downgraded to class B drugs). The Government hasn’t actually altered the law (probably too close to an election for them to do anything that radical).
In practise, it depends on where you are. Most police forces turn a blind eye to possession, but not to dealing (although it has also been recently recommended that lower fines/sentences should be given in the case of people who only deal in small amounts to friends). Also, the “medical useage” argument has been known to sway police and juries - a man in Stockport was tried and found not guilty of supplying MJ - he admitted supplying it, but he was providing the drug for free to sufferers of MS, so the court took a very lenient view.

NORML has a list of state-by-state marijuana penalties at The laws change quite frequently so I wouldn’t rely on this as gospel, but it gives a general idea as to the trends in this country.