If you’re looking for weed in Florida, you might be out of luck. Last weekend, the Arkansas police stopped and searched a truck coming from the Golden Coast. They originally stopped the truck because it did not stop at a designated weight area. What they found was much more interesting.
An Ordinary Road Check Finds An Inordinate Amount of Pot
On Sunday morning, a truck traveling from California did not stop at a weigh station off Interstate 40 in Alma, Arkansas. The Arkansas Highway Police decided to pull the vehicle over but the driver, carrying precious cargo, sped on.
A police chase ensued. When the vehicle finally pulled over, law enforcement noted that the driver seemed anxious. Not only was the driver’s behavior unusual, but his log book didn’t match his cargo according to 5 News.
Next, the driver gave the authorities written consent to search his truck. Immediately, the police noticed that truck seemed to be carrying two different shipments. One was seemingly legal produce, while the other was stored in trash bags.
Inside the trash bags were 201 packages of marijuana. In total, the truck was carrying 232 pounds of cannabis.
The Driver and Passenger Are Facing Charges
Being caught carrying marijuana across state lines, especially when that state hasn’t legalized recreational use, carries some hefty charges. Specifically, Arkansas is charging the driver and passenger with Possession with the Intent to Deliver.
Since marijuana is still a Schedule I substance, these charges are a felony. According to Arkansas law, possession and attempt to deliver over 100 pounds of marijuana incurs a minimum six-year prison sentence. The maximum penalty is 30 years, with a fine of $15,000.
Most Southern States Have Strict Marijuana Laws
Comparatively, Arkansas is one of the most progressive states in the South when it comes to marijuana legislation. Though the state’s 2016 medical marijuana program has hit some major legal roadblocks, Arkansas is one of the few states south of the Mason Dixon that allows medical THC use.
Florida has also legalized medical marijuana, but cannabis is often difficult to find in the Sunshine State. “With the current system, you’re very limited to the strains of product that are available. Some patients can’t even get their medicine,” Seth Hyman said about his daughter Rebecca’s struggle to access medical cannabis.
Part of the difficulty with Florida’s program is that the state completely bars smokeable marijuana, medical or otherwise. Just last month, the fight for the right to smoke cannabis went to court.
The Dangers of Banning Cannabis
When states do not give their residents access to marijuana, people turn to the black market. The case of this truck traveling across Arkansas with 213 pounds of illegal marijuana is just one minor example.
More dangerously, many Americans are using synthetic weed. Though the finest herb is just as illegal synthetic marijuana in Florida, the effects of the latter can be incredibly dangerous. This week, a fourth person died from synthetic cannabis. This 30-year-old woman is only the latest in a deadly synthetic cannabis outbreak that has spread to four states. In Illinois alone, health officials report 150 cases of synthetic weed-induced bleeding from wounds, ears and eyes.
Limiting access to marijuana wastes resources and contributes to synthetic marijuana’s deadly popularity. While law enforcement should be cracking down on synthetic weed, they’re pulling over trucks full of marijuana.