Pot’s legal in California. So why are people still getting busted in Yosemite?

Pot’s legal in California. So why are people still getting busted in Yosemite?

Published on 1/9/17

With more states than ever passing marijuana laws this year, its no wonder people are confused about where they can and can't have cannabis. California voters are heavily in favor of recreational marijuana, but many are still being arrested and fined for possessing the drug in national parks. Federal land like national parks still operate under federal law and officials have full intention of continuing to enforce prohibition. Innocent adults know that a marijuana law passed in their state and they make the mistake of thinking parks like Yosemite are just like any other park in California. The Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado sees much fewer people busted for marijuana possession since the state legalized adult use in 2012. On the otherhand, Washington also voted to legalize in 2012 but still has marijuana cases end up in federal coourt.

“I’d anticipate more people thinking now that it is legal in the park,” Mitchell said. “A lot of people don’t recognize that you are going into a completely different jurisdiction; it’s just like going into a different state. A lot of people don’t know that. They just think they’re going into a park, like any other California park.”

“But in New Jersey and in Washington state, they’re still seeing these cases ending up in federal court. Typically it’s misdemeanor possession,” Vicente said. “It’s folks thinking, ‘Oh, marijuana is legal in Washington state,’ or they’re a medical marijuana patient in New Jersey, which doesn’t have fully legal marijuana, and then they’re getting cited for possession.”

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