New Laws for 2018 Legalize Pot, Restrict Smoking, and Allow Travelers to Post Online Reviews Without Fear of Retaliation

By Paul Riegler on 2 January 2018
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As is customary at the start of the New Year, many new state laws go into effect across the nation.

Here’s a look at some which might be of interest to travelers.

A new law in Vermont affords workers in that state social media privacy. Employers are forbidden to request or require employees to provide access to what they have posted in their personal social-media accounts.

Visitors to California, as well as residents, may be happy to learn that the recreational use of marijuana is now legal. Thanks to Proposition 64, approved by voters in 2016, anyone over 21 may purchase their 420 without the need for a medical card from businesses with state licenses to sell pot.

Young smokers beware. Oregon has increased the legal age required to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21.

Furthermore, drivers in Oregon be careful. If you are behind the wheel and pass any vehicle on the side of the road, be it a stuck car or an emergency vehicle, you are required to change lanes or slow down. The law applies to any vehicle displaying hazard lights, flares, or other emergency indication.

Attention, Virginia numismatists: Starting the first of the year, no sales tax will be due on purchases of coins that exceed $1,000. The state also extended a current and similar sales tax exemption on purchases of gold, silver, or platinum bullion through 2022.

Planning a trip to Guam? Please note that the territory has made it illegal for individuals under 21 to smoke tobacco products.

Other significant new laws in California include the right for pedestrians to cross the street legally even if the do-not-walk sign is flashing its red handed symbol as long as there is still time left on the countdown clock. In addition, all public restrooms for all genders will be required to have diaper-changing stations.

Holding and using a mobile phone while driving through a marked school zone will become illegal in Tennessee, while Illinois makes it illegal for businesses to retaliate for bad reviews left on review sites such as Yelp and Trip Advisor.

Meanwhile, the new tax law passed by Congress at the very end of 2017 will allow sole proprietors as well as owners of partnerships and other pass-through entities to deduct 20% of their revenue from taxable income. The move may encourage some eligible employees to change their status to independent contractor to take advantage of the deduction.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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