I am currently watching a TV show called Border Security, and in this show, immigration officers interview potential candidates for entry into their country, in suspicion that they may have something to do with narcotics.

Usually what I see is that the immigrations officers say something along the lines of this:

I don't care if you have smoken pot on your own free time or in the past, you simply cannot be transporting any across the border

As I am not a citizen of the USA, I have a couple of questions.

1) Is smoking pot illegal?

2) Is it only illegal if you are caught with it in your possession?

3) If someone has admitted to smoking pot in the past, but do not have it on them, can they still go to jail?

4) Many of the immigrants on Border Security have admitted to smoking pot within the last week, but they are still allowed across the border?

1 Answer 1


Marijuana for recreational usage is still illegal in 42 states in the US. The only states where marijuana is legal are: Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

  1. Smoking pot for recreational usage is illegal in those states other than what is listed above.
  2. This depends. If your property is being searched for another crime and they find marijuana, then you could also be charged with possession of marijuana.
  3. No, you most likely will not be taken to jail if you admitted to smoking marijuana in the past.
  4. That is because the individuals are not committing a crime right there and then. Many people have committed crime in the past (i.e. steal candy from a store, consumed alcohol before 21 in the US, etc) but carry on with their lives and don't get charged with a crime when they admit to it later.
  • Also, saying you smoked pot (or committed any other crime) is not evidence - it's just talking. Some people have been known to tell lies.
    – Dale M
    Jun 15, 2017 at 6:11
  • 1
    Isn't marijuana classified as a schedule 1 drug by the DEA making its use illegal in the entire country? I don't believe failing to enforce a law does not make the law go away. Or was there some other change I'm unaware of?
    – Matt
    Jun 15, 2017 at 12:41
  • It's not illegal in the entire country, the above states allow recreational usage of marijuana, as long as it's not in public: colorado.gov/pacific/marijuanainfodenver/residents-visitors
    – Michael
    Jun 15, 2017 at 13:17
  • 1
    @MichaelC. So can states now preempt federal laws, or is there some reason the federal prohibition against schedule 1 drugs doesn't apply? Are you saying this answer is wrong: law.stackexchange.com/a/4322/1340
    – Matt
    Jun 15, 2017 at 14:49
  • @MichaelC. See: law.stackexchange.com/q/20012/1340
    – Matt
    Jul 9, 2017 at 22:01

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .