Here in Colorado, adult possession of marijuana in small amounts has been legalized.
In plenty of other states, however, such activities remain against the law, and violators face potentially massive penalties, including years in jail.
Take the story of four young men — Brandon T. Stoll, 21, Zachary McDaniel, 22, Chad Butcher and Joshua Beers, 21 — recently pulled over beyond state lines.
The quartet are accused of transporting a number of cannabis products from Colorado.
But because they were caught in Missouri rather than here, they face a felony charge that could land them behind bars for as long as seven years.
WGEM-TV, based in Quincy, Illinois, provides the details in the context of a story that portrays marijuana as a horrendous scourge — a hysterical tone that's less common in these parts than it once was but is still going strong in other places.
According to the station, Stoll and company were pulled over by Marion County deputies for a traffic stop near Hannibal, Missouri.
There, they were found to have in their possession "THC-infused drinks and mixes, marijuana, THC-infused vapes, marijuana max [sic] and drug paraphernalia."
"Marijuana max" was actually "marijuana wax," as illustrated by this screen capture pulled from footage of Detective Tyler Wheeler surfing the Internet to show off the array of cannabis products available in Colorado.
Detective Wheeler is among the sources interviewed by the station, and he says the bust at the center of the report "is one of multiple arrests that have been made recently of individuals traveling from Colorado to other states that we're stopping."
He portrays the transporting of Colorado pot products into or through Missouri as a growing trend, and a troubling one.
Moreover, he reveals that his agency will be shifting its resources in an effort to stop such importation.
"Right now, we're ramping up patrols and watching the highways," he tells the station.
As for the allegations against the men, WGEM-TV notes that they were issued warrants for distribution and delivery of less than five grams of marijuana.
That may not sound so bad, but in Missouri, it definitely is.
According to NORML's breakdown of Missouri's laws and penalties, the sale, trafficking or distribution of less than five grams of marijuana is a felony punishable by seven years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Of course, this is the maximum penalty for the offense, and there's no guarantee that the quartet will all wind up behind bars. But even if they avoid jail, a felony conviction on their record could result in a lifetime of difficulties — and all for activities that are absolutely legal in Colorado.
Look below to see the WGEM-TV report.
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