Harsh Realms

NORML ranked the five worst states to be caught green-handed in

By David Jenison


A few months ago, Oklahoma lost one of its more popular online food shops, but it wasn’t a tornado that took out Basco Bakery. Rather, the business was hit by the Stillwater police for selling cannabis baked goods. What could happen to 29-year-old owner Sarah Probasco? According to state law, she might face life in prison. Harsh penalties like these are what led NORML to put Oklahoma atop its list of the five worst states to get caught with cannabis.



Oklahoma may have given us the Flaming Lips and a peace pipe flag, but it’s still the Bible Belt Buckle with more love for Oral Roberts than Wayne Coyne. In fact, we can see just how different Oklahoma is by looking at its other laws. For example, it is illegal to engage in bear wrestling or horse tipping, bar owners can’t let customers simulate sex with a buffalo and the hind legs of animals are not allowed in your boots. Lest you think blunts are the only thing they want banned from your mouth, the state even has laws against oral sex. Oklahoma is not completely right-wing, however, as they did ban whaling in the state. While certainly a bummer state for fans of softcore Buffalo porn, Oklahoma shows it party pride in places like Beaver. What makes Beaver so popular? This town is the official Cow Chip Throwing Capital of the World, and its most recent champ flung dung nearly 146 feet!



Oklahoma is tops for its Draconian sentencing, but NORML ranked Texas second for sheer volume. There is no other state that arrests and prosecutes more people. This is the state that put cuffs on Willie Nelson and targets its own officers. Last year, Internal Affairs set up an undercover sting operation to catch on-duty officer Wesley Lamb lighting up in his patrol car. Austin, the state capital, is generally more lenient, though how could it not be when people like Ashton Kutcher claim to have blazed with the Bush Twins.



Florida ranked third on the NORML list for punishing minor offenses more severely than any other state. How bad is it? No one knows for sure since the Sunshine State refuses to send its arrest data to the FBI. Not all of the busts stay under wraps, however, as well-known Sunshine State arrests include Gators cornerback Janoris Jenkins, Blue Collar Comedy star Ron White, David “Bud Bundy” Faustino, rappers DJ Khaled and DMX, Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem, Falcons quarterback Michael Vick and even Anna Nicole Smith judge Lawrence Korda.



The Bayou State averages about 19,000 busts a year mostly for minor possession, and multiple offenses can lead to life in prison.



Arizona still treats many first-time possession charges as a felony offense. While a senator’s wife can get away with zero time for stealing painkillers from her own charity, Arizona can punish minor marijuana offenses with up to 18 months in jail and a $150,000 fine.

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