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Changing Marijuana Laws and Your Next Road Trip

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Travel is on the rise, and many Americans are opting to drive rather than fly. Driving allows travelers to take the scenic route, is less costly, and allows for more stops along the way. The only thing missing is that vodka tonic you usually enjoy onboard the airplane to calm your nerves.

Of course, drinking and driving is not an option, so perhaps one of your passengers enjoys another kind of stress relief in the form of cannabis. As the driver, you might be concerned about legal implications if you’re pulled over by law enforcement. To avoid a run-in with the law, it’s important to familiarize yourself with local marijuana laws before embarking on your trip.

States That Have Legalized Recreational Use

According to CBS News, 43 percent of adults in the U.S. have experimented with marijuana. More and more states are passing laws that decriminalize possessing small amounts of pot, and some have even made recreational consumption and possession 100 percent legal. Those states include:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado 
  • District of Columbia
  • Illinois
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan 
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New York 
  • Oregon 
  • Vermont
  • Washington State

Other states are not quite as lax as these, however, and if you’re caught with even a few seeds and stems, you may be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. At the time of this writing, harsh laws still exist in Alabama, Idaho, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Wyoming. Laws concerning medicinal use or possession of small amounts vary from state to state, which confuses the matter further. 

Marijuana Possession and Crossing State Lines

Before crossing from one state into another, it is imperative to check out the local marijuana laws in the states you are visiting. NORML lists the current laws on its website, and a lot of people are alarmed to find out that between destination A and B lies a state with tough marijuana laws. Indiana cops have issued ominous warnings to people crossing the border to Michigan or Illinois to buy pot. The bottom line is? Don’t do it.

To make matters worse, the federal government still has cannabis on its official list of controlled substances, so you might be unknowingly committing a felony just by taking a joy ride to a neighboring state with your smoker friend. Federal judges can be unsympathetic and not in the mood to accept excuses, depending on their stance on legalization. Tossing the dice in the wrong jurisdiction can leave you staring out from behind bars.

Driving While High Can Land You in Jail

In the state of California, penalties for driving under the influence of marijuana are almost identical to an alcohol-related DUI. The main difference is there is not a set limit for how high the bloodstream concentration must be for a conviction, which creates a kind of loophole in the law that a savvy lawyer can help you work around.

Penalties can include up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine for first offenders. A second offense could find you spending up to a year behind bars. A third offense and you could spend a year in jail and lose your license for up to three years. Getting behind the wheel while impaired in any way is dangerous at best and lethal at worst, so before you take your next road trip, you’d better add some car accident attorneys to your phone’s contact list, just in case. So educate yourself, enjoy yourself, but take precautions.

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Culture & Arts

Antique silverware: Its Background and Value.

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Nowadays, the term “silverware” refers to a wide range of items, including jewelry, antique silver tea caddies, flatware, silver handled baskets, porringers, coins, and silver medals or trophies, among many others. However, times have changed dramatically since the Georgian, Victorian, and Edwardian periods, when antique silverware was used on a daily basis primarily by the wealthy or royalty.

Silverware was made as early as the 12th century, and cutlery and flatware became extremely popular and fashionable only a short time later. The antique silverware items that have survived to this day were made from the same grade of silver used in coinage.

Many ordinary people outside of the nobility amassed vast personal fortunes very quickly during the Industrial Revolution, and the upper middle class emerged. Beginning in the 1840s, these “new money” people invested heavily in silverware in order to flaunt their wealth. People stopped eating with their fingers in the Victorian era and began using knives and forks, which were naturally made of silver for the newly wealthy. During this time, English flatware silversmiths found themselves extremely busy serving both the European and American markets.

Just as we collect labor-saving devices today, the upper middle classes collected sterling silver utensils as symbols of wealth but also for everyday use. Silver tea services, tea caddies, coffee pots, fruit baskets, sugar bowls, milk jugs, and countless other pieces of flatware and cutlery could be found throughout Victorian homes.

As can be seen in large antique silver collections, the Victorian period saw silver at its peak, but there was a remarkable decline at the start of WWII, not least due to a lack of technology in machinery to make the items. Historically, all sterling silverware was handcrafted and stamped by machine. During the Great Depression, labor costs were higher, and even wealthy households began to feel the pinch. They used fewer servants, didn’t host as many large dinner parties, and silver maintenance was a major task. Hand polishing sterling silver took time, especially on ornate and intricately designed pieces. Hence Flatware gained popularity because it was much easier to polish and maintain.

Silver’s value fluctuates as a precious metal, but for antique silver collectors, finding perfectly preserved Georgian, Edwardian, and Victorian silverware in perfect condition is a joy. Drinking from a silver goblet and using silver knives, forks, and spoons at a dinner party feels decadent. Serving coffee from a sterling silver coffee pot that has been in use for well over a century puts some of our porcelain and china counterparts to shame.

Antique silverware will always be valuable as an investment, and even if the price of silver falls, you can be certain that it will rise again in the future. Unfortunately, the demand for silver exceeds the supply, and some of the exquisite silver pieces that can occasionally be found in antique markets or hidden away in the attic are sold for scrap and melted down, a process that simply destroys the work of England’s great silversmiths as well as a piece of our history.

Bernard Warner has amassed an impressive collection of antique silver over the course of many years, becoming a renowned collector of Georgian silver from the reigns of George I, George II, and George III. Part of his vast collection, including pieces from the Queen Anne, William IV, Victorian, and Edwardian eras, is now for sale. Some pieces date from 1711.

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