We all know that, on the books, weird laws exist in our country and everywhere else. From not being able to belch at the table to being forbidden from fighting a bear, laws are strange and fickle.
Weird Laws in the US
So, what are some of the craziest things deemed illegal by the authorities? They include:
Cannabis: You know you saw that one coming. While the law is softening on weed, it remains more illegal than not. Only a handful of states have legalized recreationally and Uncle Sam continues to act like Mary Jane stood him up at prom. But the feds are changing their tune in regard to medical marijuana and the criminalization of cannabis. Not all of them – not you, Jeff Sessions (I know you’re reading this) – but many in Congress want to see the money wasted on the war on drugs put to much better use. Origami with hundred-dollar bills in the White House cafeteria? Yes, that would be less wasteful.
Chewing gum: It’s not illegal to chew gum in Singapore, but it is illegal to sell it or import it. The reason for this is because gum is messy and banning its sale helps keep the streets clean (if you get caught spitting gum out, it’s a 700 dollar fine).
Some gum is okay, however. If it’s prescribed by a doctor (like nicotine gum or gum for dental purposes), it’s allowed
Letting your kids play on a playground alone: Back in our day – when we were walking uphill both ways to Media Play – kids ran around like feral children. It wasn’t unusual to see six and seven-year-olds riding bikes through fields or running into the drugstore to buy their grandmother cigarettes (or maybe that was just me). Everyone says the times are different now, but they really aren’t.
Horrible things have always happened; we just never heard about them as much as we do in this day and age
Nonetheless, leaving your children unattended isn’t allowed by some. Penalties range from accusations of neglect to probation to jail time. A few years back, a mom from South Carolina actually spent more than two weeks in jail because she allowed her child to play on a playground alone while she went to work. Her child’s age? Nine years and she was left with a cellphone. Not only was this mother charged, she was charged with a felony.
Swearing in front your children: If you have kids, odds are you’re guilty of this (I know I mother f-ing am!). But, apparently, it’s also illegal in the Land of No Common Sense. A South Carolina mom (and no, South Carolina isn’t the only state where this stuff happens) was arrested for using the F-word in front of her children under the charge “disorderly conduct.” You know what’s disorderly? Parenthood.
Being drunk in a bar: It seems counterintuitive, but in Alaska, it’s illegal to be drunk inside a brewery (or tavern or a hole in the wall named “Moe’s”). As the law is written, anyone already drunk can’t knowingly enter a bar to drink more. They can also not remain in the bar where the drunkenness originally commenced. And, yep, some cops enforce the rule.
Horse tripping: Apparently, horse tripping is a thing – or at least it’s a thing that’s not allowed in Oklahoma. No word on the penalty if you are caught extending your leg in front of Mr. Ed and giggling behind the bushes, but it probably involves a ticket and the wrath of PETA.
Another thing illegal in Oklahoma? Wrestling a bear
Mispronunciation: If you’re headed to Arkansas, be sure you know how to pronounce the state’s name. Arkansas has a state code that dictates how people can say it (three syllables with the final “s” silent, an “a” with an Italian sound, and an accent on the first and last syllables).
Nuclear weapons: We can’t necessarily say that this law is a bad one – in the Chico, California city limits, a 1980s law banned nuclear weapons (and it’s on the books today). Those inside the city aren’t able to build, maintain, or use nukes. If they’re caught, the government imposes a 500 dollar fine. Yes, only 500.
Catapults: In Colorado, Aspen specifically, catapults are outlawed. You can own one or build one, but you can’t launch one. If you were hoping to storm a castle by soaring over the east wall, you’re out of luck. You’ll just have to sneak across the drawbridge the next time it’s lowered.
Using forks: Everyone knows that the south takes food seriously and they also take the manner in which you eat it seriously too.
In Gainesville, Georgia, people are not allowed to eat chicken with anything other than their fingers
This law was implemented back in the 1960s as a means to do away with publicity stunts. What the fork?
Acting fishy with a salmon: No, you don’t need to be making out with it; suspiciously holding a salmon is enough. The Salmon Act of 1986 regulates salmon fishery and dictates how you can hold a salmon. Of course, it does other things too, but they’re not as funny.
Impersonating an auctioneer: In the smallest state in the nation (Rhode Island), it’s illegal to impersonate an auctioneer. We’re not sure why it’s illegal or why you would impersonate one in the first place. But if you do, you might be going, going, going…gone to jail. Just kidding, they’ll probably do nothing, especially after you convince them you’re not impersonating an auctioneer, just the Micro-Machines guy.
There are many wild laws around the world – in some countries, everyday freedoms we take for granted aren’t allowed (and offenses are punishable in a way that violates human rights to an unimaginable degree) – but in the United States, many of the ridiculous laws aren’t really enforced (or the laws are examples of sensical regulations enforced under extreme, nonsensical conditions).
Cannabis is another story; even though the laws are softening, the ridiculous remains.