Don't spark up a celebratory joint just yet.
In case you missed it, January 1st will mark the arrival of legalized marijuana in California. Well that's undoubtedly great news across the board, it would appear that there's a minor buzzkill. The Associated Press has reported that federal agents will still be seizing your weed, even on "busy freeways and backcountry highways." Plus, eight border patrols across California will still consider possession of the drug illegal and confiscate accordingly. Evidently, the state law and the federal law remain in conflict.
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Assistant chief of Border Patrol's San Diego sector Ryan Yamasaki spoke with AP about the transition, citing a lack of change on his end. "“Prior to Jan. 1, it’s going to be the same after Jan. 1, because nothing changed on our end. "If you’re a federal law enforcement agency, you uphold federal laws." And where the law is concerned, marijuana is still classified as a controlled substance, along with stronger drugs like heroin and LSD.
While California's new law will allow anyone over the age of 21 to carry up to an ounce, forty percent of federal marijuana seizures between 2012-2016 were for an ounce or less. The checkpoints are generally located up to one-hundred-miles from the Mexican border, with the intention of stopping any illegal immigrants from entering the country. According to a report from the Government Accountability Office, eighty-seven percent of drug confiscations were marijuana. Luckily for those carriers, charges were seldom made; those caught were generally released after being photographed and fingerprinted.
Come January 1st, California will become the seventh state to legalize recreational marijuana.