Fifty States of Inebriation


Each state has its own relationship and regulations for intoxicants. After prohibition, the drinking laws were different in each state. A highway bill passed by the feds standardized things like the drinking age and began a trend of sameness that takes some of the fun out of drinking your way across the country.

Luckily, the states have decided to buck the boring blanket of restrictions the feds think we need. We have a new landscape of dope laws to entertain us. Two states have legalized marijuana and several more have some kind of medical marijuana option. In the coming years, we are going to see states experimenting with new laws and regulations as the country staggers down the road to embracing intoxicants.

We have collected what we can find about the laws about intoxicants in each state. What we can use is your stories about adventures with the law in your state. Click on the comments link to tell us what you have run into.

Things are changing fast for legalized marijuana in the United States. To help you keep track of where we are, check out this article: http://www.freedomleaf.com/state_by_state_the_next_big_moves_for_legal_marijuana

Alabama

The Law

Alabama does not allow medical or recreational marijuana. Possession of up to a kilo of marijuana or paraphernalia can land you in jail for up to a year and earn you a $6000 fine. More than that and the penalty goes up to 10 years and $15,000. A medical marijuana bill was up for a vote in the legislature in 2011, but it did not pass.

Alabama is one of the states that includes dry counties where drinking is prohibited. In the legal counties, you can get beer or wine in grocery or convenience stores, but when the alcohol content is above 14%, you have to go to an ABC store. On the road, Alabama has the federally mandated rules about no open containers and 0.08% BAC limit.

 

High Life

Alabama is more sober than most states. 39.17% of people surveyed there reported having a drink in the last month. 9.01% reported using marijuana in the last year. The state has some of the strictest prohibition laws in the country. In fact, two thirds of the counties in Alabama are "Dry" - no alcohol sales allowed. The restrictive attitude reflects the feelings of the residents - 46.68% of people there believe that there is a severe health risk from drinking. Even more folks (51.08%) believe that there is a severe health risk from marijuana.

 

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Alaska

The Law

In 2014, the people of Alaska voted for a referendum that made recreational marijuana legal for all adults. See the recipe

Alaska adopted a medical marijuana law in 1998. With a doctor's certificate, Alaskans can possess up to an ounce of MJ and grow up to 6 plants (3 of them can be mature). The law does not prevent arrest, but it does provide a legal defense in court.

 

High Life

Alaska is near the middle of the pack in alcohol use with 49.36% of people reporting having a drink in the last month. They are number one in marijuana use though at 15.83% of people saying they imbibe.

In the 70's, Alaska burst onto the national dope scene with a local strain called Manatuska Thunderfuck. This was one of the first steps away from the days of Mexican and ditchweed. You can thank Alaska for starting the trend towards today's potent strains.

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Arizona

The Law

Arizona adopted a medical marijuana law in 2010. With a doctor's certificate, Arizonans can possess up to 2.5 ounces of MJ and caregivers can have up to 2.5 ounces per patient they care for. The law prohibits arrest or prosecution for possession. In addition landlords, employers and schools cannot discriminate against medical marijuana patients and caregivers.

High Life

Arizona is in the middle of the pack when it comes to drinkers (49.74%) and stoners (10.16%).

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Arkansas

The Law

Arkansas is one of the states with "Dry" counties where alcohol is prohibited. One quirk of the Arkansas system is that private clubs can exist in dry counties. In the rest of the state you can buy alcohol retail stores, bars and restaurants except on Sunday and Christmas day.

Possession, manufacturing, sale and trafficking in marijuana, hash and paraphernalia is illegal in Arkansas. Penalties include jail time and fines. A medical marijuana exception failed in the 2012 election.

 

High Life

Arkansas is in the middle of the pack when it comes to the percentage of stoners (10.16%), but they are near the bottom of the list for drinkers (40.66%). The lack of drinkers may be due to repressive government liquor controls. In Russellville, the city council approved a motion censoring any discussion of legalizing alcohol sales during budget sessions.

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California

The Law

 

California was the first state to adopt a medical marijuana law in 1996. With a doctor's certificate or an ID from the health department, Californians can possess up to 8 ounces of MJ and grow up to 12 immature plants or 6 mature ones. Doctors are not restricted to proscribing MJ for any specific medical conditions. Patients cannot be arrested or prosecuted for possession.

 

In 2010, a 53% majority voted down an initiative that would have legalized recreational marijuana. Since then, polls have shifted to where 55% are in favor of legalization. Supporters of legalized marijuana plan to put a new initiative on the ballot in 2016.

 

 

High Life

California is slightly above average in percentage of stoners (11.07%) and close to the average in drinkers (50.59%). The fertile growing region makes it a world class producer of wine and dope.

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Colorado

The Law

 

Colorado legalized recreational marijuana use in 2012. Before that, it adopted a medical marijuana law in 2000. Under the medical law, patients with a doctor's certificate or an ID card from the health department, can possess up to two ounces of MJ and grow up to 6 plants (3 of them can be mature). The law does not prevent arrest, but it does provide a legal defense in court.

 

The recreational law allows adults aged 21 or older to grow up to six cannabis plants privately in a locked space. All the cannabis they grow is legal to possess. They can give up to an ounce as a gift to another adult. Stoned driving is illegal as is public consumption. An amendment to the original law provides for licensing of cultivation facilities, product manufacturing facilities, testing facilities, and retail stores.

 

If you go to Colorado, feel free to enjoy some weed, but do not take it with you to the airport. As a federal facility, you can be arrested under federal laws there.

 

 

High Life

 

Before legalization, the percentage of stoners was the 7th highest in the country (13.32%).

 

Colorado had to change the 420 mile markers to 419.99 mile markers because people kept stealing them.

 

Colorado also has the 7th highest percentage of drinkers (58.78%). By law, you have to be a big drinker in Colorado. Wine must be in bottles of at least 24 ounces and spirits must be in bottles larger than a 5th of a gallon. The only exception is for hotel minibars which cannot include anything larger than the little airplane bottles.

 

Colorado is number one in beer production.

 

 

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Connecticut

The Law

 

Connecticut adopted a medical marijuana law in 2012. With an ID from the Department of Consumer Protection, people from Connecticut can possess up to a 30 day supply. The specific amounts are to be worked out by the Department of Consumer Protection. The law prohibits arrest, prosecution or discrimination against patients or caregivers.

 

Voters in Connecticut will get a chance to legalize marijuana in 2015.

 

 

High Life

Connecticut is number four in alcohol use with 60.52% of people reporting having a drink in the last month. They are number 12 in marijuana use though at 12.5% of people saying they imbibe.

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Delaware

The Law

Delaware adopted a medical marijuana law in 2011. With an ID from the department of health and social services, Delawareans can possess up to six ounces of MJ and buy up to three ounces every two weeks. The law prohibits arrest, prosecution and discrimination against patients and caregivers.

High Life

Delaware is near the middle of the pack in alcohol use with 50.67% of people reporting having a drink in the last month. They are also about average in marijuana use at 10.78% of people saying they imbibe.

Under pressure from the feds, the Governor put rules for dispensaries on hold, leaving patients with limited options for getting their medicine.

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Florida

The Law

Floridians can buy beer and wine in retail, grocery and convenience stores. Spirits are available in retail liquor stores. In most of the state, there are no alcohol sales on Sundays, but some counties are an exception. Lawmakers are considering changes in the laws that would open up the craft brewing and distilling industry.

Marijuana and paraphernalia sale and possession is illegal in Florida. The penalties are severe, including jail time and fines. There are no exceptions for medical use. The state legislature is considering the Cathy Jordan Medical Marijuana act which would allow certain patients to possess up to 4 ounces of marijuana.

 

High Life

Florida is in the middle of the pack in alcohol use with 51.01% of people reporting having a drink in the last month. They are also about average in marijuana use at 10.56% of people saying they imbibe.

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Georgia

The Law

 

When the devil goes down to Georgia, he has to make sure that he puts all of his open containers in the trunk, but he can go to a bar on Sunday since Judge Marvin Arrington ruled that the laws that closed bars on Sundays are unconstitutional.

 

Possession of small amounts of marijuana is a misdemeanor that can get you up to a year in jail and a $1000 fine. As of April 16, 2015, patients can get a medical marijuana card that covers up to 20 ounces of low-THC cannabis oil.

 

High Life

Georgia is in the bottom third in alcohol use with 45.49% of people reporting having a drink in the last month. They are also in the bottom third in marijuana use at 9.76% of people saying they imbibe.

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Hawaii

The Law

Hawaii adopted a medical marijuana law in 2000. The law made Hawaii the first state to pass a medical marijuana law in the legislature instead of by citizen initiative. Unfortunately, no dispensaries were approved until 2015. Under the long awaited implementation, a Hawaiian with an ID from the department of public safety, patients and caregivers can possess up to three ounces of MJ. They can have three mature plants and four immature ones.

 

High Life

Hawaii is in the bottom third for alcohol use with 48.85% of people reporting having a drink in the last month. They are about average in marijuana use at 10.8% of people saying they imbibe.

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Idaho

The Law

 

Possession of up to 3 ounces of marijuana can get you a year of jail time and a $1000 fine. If they get you for intent to distribute, you are facing 5 years or more in jail.

 

In 2013, the state senate resolved to oppose legalization of marijuana in any form.

 

Idaho follows the federal drinking age of 21 and prohibits drinking and driving. 19 year olds can work in stores, bars and restaurants that sell alcohol.

 

High Life

Idaho is in the bottom third in alcohol use with 47.75% of people reporting having a drink in the last month. They are also near the bottom (42nd) in marijuana use at 9.82% of people saying they imbibe.

 

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Illinois

The Law

 

Illinois considered upping the restriction for DUIs from the federal guideline of 0.08% BAC to 0.06%. The law did not pass although activists are still working for lower limits. The state does have a stricter penalty for drivers found with a BAC of 0.20% or higher. Almost half of all fatally injured drivers have this high BAC level.

 

The Marijuana Policy Project describes Illinois' marijuana laws as a "patchwork system that is both unpredictable and unfair." Discrepancies between state and local laws mean that penalties range from the equivalent of a traffic ticket to jail time and fines. In 2015, legislation was proposed to decriminalize marijuana.

 

Medical marijuana cards are available for patients who are residents of the state, over 18 and who are diagnosed with one or more of a specific list of conditions.

 

 

 

High Life

 

Illinois is in the middle of the pack for cannabis usage at 11.66%. 53.12% of Illinois residents report having a drink recently.

 

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Indiana

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Iowa

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Kansas

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Kentucky

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Louisiana

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Maine

The Law

 

Maine adopted a medical marijuana law in 1999. With a statement from a physician, people from Maine can possess up to 2.5 ounces of MJ. They can have six mature plants in a locked facility. The law prohibits arrest, prosecution and discrimination against patients and caregivers. On November 5th, 2013, Portland voters legalized recreational marijuana.

 

High Life

Maine is in the middle third for alcohol use with 49.69% of people reporting having a drink in the last month. They are above average in marijuana use with 12.45% of people saying they imbibe.

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Maryland

The Law

Maryland adopted a medical marijuana law in 2010. With a statement from a physician, people from Maryland can possess up to an ounce of MJ. The law provides for an affirmative defense but patients and caregivers can still be arrested.

Maryland is considering a change in the law that would reduce the penalty for possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana from 90 days in jail to $100.

High Life

Maryland is in the middle third for alcohol use with 51.72% of people reporting having a drink in the last month. They are also in the middle of the pack for marijuana use with 10.35% of people saying they imbibe.

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Massachusetts

The Law

 

Massachusetts decriminalized marijuana possession in 2008 and adopted a medical marijuana law in 2012. The law goes into effect in 2013. With an ID from the health department, people from Massachusetts will be able to possess up to a 60 day supply of MJ. The health department will determine how much that is by April 2013. The law provides protection from any penalty or denial of rights and privileges for patients and caregivers.

 

State House Bill 1561 introduced in 2015 would create a regulated recreational market similar to the one in Colorado. While the bill has strong support from lawmakers, Governor Charlie Baker has threatened to veto the bill if it makes it to his desk.

 

 

High Life

Massachusetts is number two for alcohol use with 60.99% of people reporting having a drink in the last month. They are number five in marijuana use with 14.19% of people saying they imbibe.

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Michigan

The Law

Michigan adopted a medical marijuana law in 2008. With an ID from the health department, Michiganders can possess up to 2.5 ounces of MJ and up to 12 plants. The law provides protection from arrest, prosecution, penalty or denial of rights and privileges for patients and caregivers.

High Life

Michigan is in the middle of the pack for alcohol use with 52.56% of people reporting having a drink in the last month. They are in the top third for marijuana use with 12.61% of people saying they imbibe.

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Minnesota

The Law

High Life

To be written

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Mississippi

The Law

 

Mississippi was one of the first states to outlaw drinking during what became known as prohibition. It was also one of the last to repeal prohibition, waiting until 1966 when it allowed local governments to decide if they should be "Dry". Almost half the counties continue to prohibit alcohol.

 

Possession of marijuana is illegal. Your 30 gram bag can get you up to 6 months in jail if you have previous convictions. Sell a few pounds and you are looking at 30 years. Bump the sales to over 10 pounds and you can get a life sentence.

 

Despite the harsh current laws, activists are collecting signatures to get an initiative on the 2016 ballot to completely legalize pot.

 

High Life

 

Mississippi is number four in alcohol use with 60.52% of people reporting having a drink in the last month. They are number 12 in marijuana use though at 12.5% of people saying they imbibe.

 

The federal government allocated over $68 million to the University of Mississippi for their cannabis research farm. This farm is the only source for federally approved marijuana research.

 

 

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Missouri

The Law

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Montana

The Law

Montana adopted a medical marijuana law in 2004. With an ID from the state, Montanans can possess up to an ounce of MJ and up to 4 mature plants and 12 seedlings. The law provides protection from arrest, prosecution, penalty or denial of rights and privileges for patients and caregivers. Landlords can prohibit the use or cultivation of marijuana on their property. Drivers may not have more than five nanograms per milliliter in their blood.

High Life

Montana is in the top third for alcohol use with 55.96% of people reporting having a drink in the last month. They are also in the top third for marijuana use with 12.8% of people saying they imbibe.

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Nebraska

The Law

High Life

To be written

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Nevada

The Law

 

Nevada adopted a medical marijuana constitutional amendment in 1998. The law was changed to be consistent with the amendment in 2001. With an ID from the state, Nevadans can possess up an unspecified amount of MJ. The law provides an affirmative defense, but does not prevent arrest.

 

In 2015, the state legislature declined to pass a law legalizing marijuana. The bill was moved to a ballot initiative that will go before voters in 2016. The bill would include a 15% excise tax on wholesale transactions. The money would be used for K-12 education.

 

 

High Life

Nevada is in the bottom third for alcohol use with 46.95% of people reporting having a drink in the last month. They are in the middle of the pack for marijuana use with 10.56% of people saying they imbibe.

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New Hampshire

The Law

New Hampshire became the 19th state to allow medical marijuana in the summer of 2013. Doctors are set to begin proscribing medical marijuana sometime in 2014.

High Life

New Hampshire drinks more than most states. 60.17% of people surveyed there reported having a drink in the last month. They also like their weed; 14.6% reported using marijuana in the last year.

The law in New Hampshire prohibits alcohol on school grounds. State Representative Jane Clemons attempted to create an exemption for culinary schools where wine, beer and spirits are vital ingredients in stews, sauces and other dishes. The legislation, influenced by MADD, did not agree with the exemption and defeated Ms. Clemons' bill.

 

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New Jersey

The Law

New Jersey adopted a medical marijuana law in 2010. With an ID from the state, people from New Jersey can possess up two ounces of MJ from a licensed dispensary. The law prohibits any civil or criminal penalties for possession by patients or caregivers.

High Life

New Jersey is in the middle of the pack for alcohol use with 53.25% of people reporting having a drink in the last month. They are near the bottom for marijuana use with 8.73% of people saying they imbibe.

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New Mexico

The Law

New Mexico adopted a medical marijuana law in 2010. With an ID from the state, people from New Mexico can possess up six ounces of MJ. The law does not cover growing, but people can apply for a license to grow up to four mature plants and 12 seedlings. The law prohibits arrest or prosecution of patients or caregivers.

High Life

New Mexico is in the bottom of the pack for alcohol use with 47.26% of people reporting having a drink in the last month. They are near the top for marijuana use with 13.25% of people saying they imbibe.

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New York

The Law

High Life

New York is in the top third for alcohol use with 53.38% of people reporting having a drink in the last month. They are also in the top third for marijuana use with 11.8% of people saying they imbibe.

There is a story that Henry Hudson drank brandy with the chief of the Delaware tribe until the chief passed out. On the morning after the night before, the Natives called the site of the party Manahachtanienk which means, "The high island." The Europeans mangled the name and called the place Manhattan.

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North Carolina

The Law

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North Dakota

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Ohio

The Law

If you have up to 100 grams of marijuana (A little under 4 ounces) when you get caught, you could get a fine up to $150. Between 100 grams and 1000 grams, the penalties go up, with jail time being possible for over 200 grams. Up to 500 grams and you might get jail, but you could get probation instead. Over 500 grams and you are on your way to jail for 1 to 5 years.

Despite several proposals, there is no exception in the law for medical marijuana.

Ohio singles out certain alcoholic beverages in the law. The French wine Fat Bastard cannot be sold in Ohio. Even if you get ahold of a legal adult beverage, don't try to share it with a fish. Getting a fish (even a consenting adult fish) drunk is strictly prohibited.

High Life

Ohio is in the middle of the pack for alcohol use with 51.41% of people reporting having a drink in the last month. They are 20th for marijuana use with 12.81% of people saying they imbibe.

 

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Oklahoma

The Law

Getting caught with an ounce and a half of marijuana in Oklahoma can land you in jail for up to a year. Get caught a second time and you face between 2 and 10 years.

There have been a number of attempts to legalize medical marijuana in Oklahoma but, so far, nothing has passed.

High Life

Oklahoma is in the bottom third for alcohol use with 42.59% of people reporting having a drink in the last month. They are also in the bottom third for marijuana use with 9.84% of people saying they imbibe.

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Oregon

The Law

The people of Oregon voted to legalize recreational marijuana in 2014. See the recipe.

Oregon adopted a medical marijuana law in 1998. With an ID from the state health department, Oregonians can possess up 24 ounces of MJ, six mature plants and 18 immature plants. The grow site must be registered with the state. The law exempts patients or caregivers from marijuana laws.

High Life

Oregon is in the upper third for alcohol use with 54.61% of people reporting having a drink in the last month. They are in the top 10 for marijuana use with 13.18% of people saying they imbibe.

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Pennsylvania

The Law

Six days a week, from 11 AM to 9 PM, Pennsylvanians can go to a privately owned retail store and buy wine, beer and spirits. On Sunday, they need to plan ahead and get to the store before 5 PM. In 1936, floods devastated the city of Jamestown. The state government imposed a tax on wine and spirits to pay for rebuilding. When the rebuilding was complete, they left the tax in place. The Jamestown tax is estimated to bring in $160 million every year.

Marijuana and paraphernalia sale and possession is illegal in Pennsylvania. Getting caught with up to 30 grams (a little over an ounce) can earn you a $500 fine and 30 days in jail. More than that and you are looking at thousands in fines and years in jail. Pennsylvania does not have an exception for medical marijuana.

 

High Life

Pennsylvania is in the middle of the pack in alcohol use with 52.2% of people reporting having a drink in the last month. They are also about average in marijuana use at 10.54% of people saying they imbibe.

 

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Rhode Island

The Law

Rhode Island adopted a medical marijuana law in 2006. With an ID from the state or the neighboring states of Massachusetts or Connecticut, Rhode Islanders can possess up 2.5 ounces of MJ, 12 mature plants and 12 immature plants. The grow site must be registered with the state. The law prohibits arrest or prosecution of patients or caregivers.

 

On April 1, 2013, Rhode Island decriminalized small amounts of marijuana. Now, that ounce that might have landed you in jail, will only earn you a $150 fine. Don't get carried away though, three convictions in 18 months and you are back to criminal status.

 

High Life

Rhode Island is number three for alcohol use with 60.85% of people reporting having a drink in the last month. They are also number three for marijuana use with 14.85% of people saying they imbibe.

Rhode Island was founded by outcasts from Boston who wanted more religious freedom. This independent streak appears periodically, including such distinctions as being the only state to never ratify the 18th amendment that established prohibition.

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South Carolina

The Law

High Life

South Carolina is near the bottom for alcohol use with 43.74% of people reporting having a drink in the last month. They are also in the bottom third for marijuana use with 9.97% of people saying they imbibe.

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South Dakota

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Tennesee

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Texas

The Law

 

Texas has been a battle ground where the Governor has pledged to win the war on drugs and NORML has many chapters actively working for legalization. Recently, the discussion has moved towards decriminalization.

 

High Life

 

Texas is in the bottom third for alcohol use with 46.76% of people reporting having a drink in the last month. They are near the bottom of the pack (46TH place) for marijuana use with 9.38% of people saying they imbibe.

 

When you need a drink in Texas, head on down to the drive through. You are not allowed to drive drunk, but the number of people who can't get through the drive through without hitting something might indicate that the law gets flaunted.

 

 

 

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Utah

The Law

Utah has some of the strictest laws in the nation around marijuana and liquor. There are no exceptions for medical use of marijuana and you can get a DUI if they find any trace of THC or metabolized THC in your blood or urine.

The alcohol laws are equally strict, but far more complex. The usual limits on age (21 years) and DUI (0.08%) apply. In addition there is an array of licenses for selling the various types of alcoholic beverages. Until 2009, when it was explicitly legalized, home brewing beer and wine was a popular activity and was not covered by liquor laws.

High Life

Utah has the lowest percentage of drinkers in the country (29.29%) and the second lowest percentage of stoners (7.97%).

The enforcement of liquor laws eased up in 2002 for the Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. After the Olympics the laws were loosened a bit.

One of the bizarre aspects of Utah is the use of private clubs. For a cover charge or membership fee, members can bring a bottle to the club and be served from that bottle for service fees.

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Vermont

The Law

Vermont adopted a medical marijuana law in 2006. With an ID from the state, Vermonters can possess up to two ounces of MJ, 2 mature plants and 7 immature plants. Patients can designate a caregiver to grow their pot. All growing must be done in a secure location. The law prohibits arrest or prosecution of patients or caregivers.

High Life

Vermont is in the top 10 for alcohol use with 58.08% of people reporting having a drink in the last month. They are number two for marijuana use with 14.9% of people saying they imbibe.

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Virginia

The Law

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To be written

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Washington

The Law

Washington legalized recreational marijuana use in 2012. See the recipe. Before that, it adopted a medical marijuana law in 1998. Residents in Washington can possess up to an ounce of MJ, but until the Washington State Liquor Control Board comes up with rules for licensed growers, producers and sellers, there is no legal way to get pot.

High Life

Washington is in the top third for alcohol use with 56.6% of people reporting having a drink in the last month. Before the new law, Washington was in the top third for marijuana use with 11.62% of people saying they imbibe.

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West Virginia

The Law

High Life

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Wisconson

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Wyoming

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