What Rights Can You Lose Boking Pot?
More Americans are toking up today than ever before.
This is a good thing, of course. However, navigating the tricky world of law enforcement is confusing at best, because cannabis is still a Schedule 1 substance, defined as one that has “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” Despite this, data taken from a new national poll conducted by the Center for American Progress reveals that 68% of voters support cannabis legalization.
In June 2018, Oklahoma became the 30th state to legalize cannabis for medical use while 9 states plus Washington DC already legalized cannabis for recreational purposes. But even if you live in a state where cannabis is legal in some capacity, this doesn’t mean that you are free from certain repercussions when you take a puff.
Knowledge is half the battle, so here’s a list of the rights you are no longer entitled to if you smoke pot:
- Gun rights: According to the Second Amendment, adults can possess guns and ammunition. However, if it’s public knowledge that you smoke pot, if you post about it on social media, or if your name is on an MMJ registry, federal law prohibits you from owning guns and ammunition. Any firearms dealer who is federally licensed is prohibited by law from selling firearms to you if they know you’re a cannabis consumer.
- Employment: The Equal Opportunity Employment law says that companies are prohibited from any kind of discrimination in hiring people based on their color, race, religion, sex, national origin, pregnancy, genetic information, age, or disability. However, employers have all the right to discriminate against your cannabis habits. Cannabis may be legal in your state, but your employer may still choose to fire you if you test positive for pot. There have been several court cases even in California, Colorado, Washington, Michigan, and Oregon brought about by employees who use pot, although their state Supreme Courts have still denied them the rights.
- Travel: In the United States, you can easily travel to any other state without the need for a passport. However, cannabis consumers are limited in the number of the states they can travel to. Obviously, if you intend to consume or possess pot, you won’t be able to travel to a state where it isn’t legal in some capacity. Patients with an MMJ card can only travel to certain states that recognize MMJ cards from other states. In Idaho, New Jersey, and Wyoming, there are laws that punish you for even being under the influence of any controlled substances in public. If you’ve smoked pot sometime during the last few weeks, it can still be traced in your system and authorities can use this against you for being under the influence.
- Parenting: Child Protective Services can take your children if you’re a pot-smoking parent. It’s justification enough for them to remove children, as they have in the past. Only some state laws offer protection for the right to parent. Unless you’re a bad parent, cannabis consumption shouldn’t be seen as reason enough to disqualify one from their right to parent, in the same way that alcohol, cigarettes, or prescription drugs aren’t used as a reason to remove a child. However, until cannabis is on the same legal level as all these other substances, it will always remain a problem in the eyes of the law.
- Military service: Anyone who’s serving in military can’t consume pot, even if they live in a state where it’s legal. It isn’t allowed, even when you’re off duty. The sad truth is that veterans are also at risk of losing benefits of they are caught using cannabis. But the military is working on relaxing some of its laws with regard to pot, but it’s because they need to get more recruits.
- Insurance: You can be denied insurance if you use pot. Insurance companies are free to use cannabis as a condition to deny you of coverage, and both medical and life insurance providers can use your consumption in the past as reason to deny you coverage.
- Housing: If your cannabis consumption habits are known, don’t be surprised if you won’t be granted the ability to live in federally subsidized houses. Landlords also have the right to evict you if you’ve smoked or used pot and they already made it clear that this is not allowed on their property.