Know the law, be responsible

One of the oldest and truest adages goes like this: Ignorance of the law is no excuse.

That truism is especially relevant for Michiganders entering into the relatively untested waters of legal recreational marijuana.

Though voters in November legalized the commercial sale and personal use and possession of the drug, it remains illegal under federal law. And that means a state trooper might leave you alone if you’re caught with weed on your person, but a federal forest ranger might not.

That’s especially relevant for residents and visitors to Northeast Michigan, who may come to camp or hike in the Huron National Forest or pass through the forest on their way from downstate to Alpena.

Reporter Crystal Nelson highlighted the issues in a story on Monday’s front page, noting that, because marijuana remains illegal under federal law, marijuana is not allowed inside the national park. She also pointed out that the park rangers’ jurisdiction covers the state highways that pass through the forests, such as M-72, M-33, and M-65. That means, if you’re making the jaunt over to Traverse City, you might want to leave your stash at home, because, if a park ranger finds a reason to search your vehicle while you’re on that highway, you could be in trouble for drug possession in federal court.

If you choose to use marijuana, it is your responsibility to know how you can do so within the confines of the law.

Know when and where and how you can use it: It’s against the law to drive while high, for example, same as it is to drive drunk, and you can’t smoke it in public.

Being ignorant of such things is not an argument that will keep you out of jail.



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