When you hear the word “felony” in the media it’s usually related to a murder, kidnapping, robbery or burglary, or other serious crime. You don’t think of using a vaping pen or e-cigarette with marijuana wax or oil. Your kids or their friends may think that vaping is the trendy thing to do and that it is fun to vape marijuana in the school parking lot or bathroom. They are even vaping in the classroom; yes, they’ve figured that out because it’s odorless. You may ask yourself, “A felony? How can that be? It’s just vaping. It’s not opioids.”
Here are the facts and not fake news. Possession of any amount of marijuana wax or oil is a felony in Minnesota. Here is the charge:
DRUGS – 5th DEGREE – POSSESS SCHEDULE 1, 2, 3, 4 – NOT SMALL AMOUNT MARIJUANA (FELONY) Minn. Stat. 152.025.2(1) Defendant did unlawfully possess one or more mixtures containing a controlled substance classified in Schedule I, II, III, or IV, to-wit: defendant possessed an electronic cigarette containing marijuana wax, a Schedule I controlled substance.
It’s still a federal crime even though legal in Colorado and other states. You could have a large garbage bag of marijuana leaves, and it’s probably not a felony. So, even disregarding the health hazards of vaping marijuana oil, why should you care?
Felony convictions can potentially affect the ability of a teen to obtain or keep a job or possibly enter the college of their choice. Adults face the same “collateral consequences,” of a felony on their record, but also possible inability to rent an apartment, possess a firearm, enter licensed professions or even vote.
Health hazards of marijuana wax and oil come from its potency, several times greater THC content than 1960’s-era marijuana in leaf form. I am informed that students in your high school are becoming ill at school from vaping marijuana. Some are finding themselves in the emergency room. Use of marijuana can lead to addiction and use of more deadly chemicals such as opioids and meth.
Please talk to your teen about the hazards of vaping marijuana, both to their health and their future. A brief fact sheet is at https://cchd.maryland.gov/vaping-and-dabbing-alert/
Please do so before we see you and your teen in court, charged with a felony.
Judge Steve Halsey, Wright County District Court, is chambered in Buffalo.