When you need medical advice, you see a doctor or pharmacist. Investment tips? A financial consultant! But when we need insight on legal issues, Americans push attorneys aside and go right for the big gun of…Google. That might seem odd, but when you consider the personal tone of certain legal topics, some find it best to do it undercover on the Internet.
Just for fun, If You Only News did its own research to find out what the most popular legal questions searched for on Google are.
We even broke it down state-by-state. And while many seem timely and ordinary, others were odd. Very, very odd.
Some of the top searches are relevant to recent news. Regarding Indiana, for example, Google searchers want to know if that state’s recent “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” really does allow LGBT discrimination. After Gov. Scott Walker’s attacks on labor rights, people want to know if you can be forced to work seven days a week in Wisconsin.
Overall, though, queries about the legality of marijuana (and medical marijuana, too) were dominant. A couple of states also wanted to know about cannabis oil (top search in Tennessee, second most common in Missouri). Legal use of pepper spray was also researched.
Legal questions about gambling, both online and in general, took second place, followed by searches pertaining to weapons. That latter general category includes questions about restrictions on carrying concealed weapons, open-carry laws, and even regarding concealed knives.
And while the recent Supreme Court decision on gay marriage certainly remains prominent, as shown by the many searches on that topic, for some reason polygamy was a popular search in three states (first in Louisiana, second in Utah, third most-searched in Alaska).
Prostitution was the top search not only in Nevada (the only state where it’s legal, and in all but four counties), but in Rhode Island, too. The legality of sex with teenagers was the second most common search in Hawaii, and also in Arkansas (where questions about having a funeral in your home took third). Toss in home-made whiskey, extramarital affairs, and making secret audio recordings of conversations without informing anyone, and – well, you can see how odd many legal questions are.
The most bizarre search, though — and we mean, really bizarre — is from Ohio. The Buckeye State’s residents search…b*stiality more than any other legal term. Yikes.
Nearby Pennsylvania ain’t that much better on the same subject of animals; their third most common search is about the legality of eating dogs and cats. And for some reason, Mississippi folks want to know if they can transport wild hogs in their personal vehicles.
Here’s a map of the most common “is (xx) legal in (yy)” Google searches, followed by a detailed listing of the top three from all 50 states and D.C.:
Second Most Common
Third Most Common
|Alabama||Common-law marriage||Gay marriage||Online poker|
|Arizona||Same-sex marriage||Open carry||Medical marijuana|
|Arkansas||Open carry||Sex with minors||Funeral in the home|
|California||Marijuana||Motorcycle lane splitting||Radar detectors|
|Connecticut||Concealed weapons||Marital separation||Medical marijuana|
|Florida||Marijuana||Open carry||Same-sex marriage|
|Hawaii||Marijuana||Sex with teenagers||Concealed knives|
|Idaho||Concealed weapon w/o a permit||Snow tires||Surfing|
|Illinois||Happy hour promotions||Guns||Gambling|
|Iowa||Fireworks||Gay marriage||Concealed knives|
|Kansas||Home schooling||Overtime w/o time-and-a-half pay||Gambling|
|Kentucky||Child emancipation||Home distilling of whiskey||Online poker|
|Maryland||Assisted suicide||Marital separation||Medical marijuana|
|Maine||Marijuana||Hunting at night||Adultery|
|Michigan||Marijuana||Minors buying guns||Gambling|
|Minnesota||Medical marijuana||Same-sex marriage||Big game ammo|
|Mississippi||Concealed knives||Same-sex marriage||Transport wild hogs|
|Missouri||Same-sex marriage||Cannabis oil||Home distillery|
|Montana||Gun without permit||Marijuana||Gambling|
|Nevada||Prostitution||Medical marijuana||Secret recordings|
|New Hampshire||Gambling||Same-sex marriage||Capital punishment|
|New Jersey||Gambling||Medical marijuana||Assisted suicide|
|New Mexico||Open carry||Same-sex marriage||Medical marijuana|
|New York||Gambling||Same-sex marriage||Pepper spray|
|North Carolina||Marijuana||Gambling||Open carry|
|North Dakota||Gambling||Drinking and driving||Hiring children|
|Oklahoma||Medical marijuana||Open carry||Same-sex marriage|
|Pennsylvania||Marijuana||Open carry||Eating dogs and cats|
|Rhode Island||Prostitution||Concealed knives||Medical marijuana|
|South Carolina||Uber||Concealed guns||Concealed knives|
|South Dakota||Gambling||Drinking and driving||Open carry|
|Tennessee||Cannabis oil||Secret recordings||Same-sex marriage|
|Utah||Gay marriage||Polygamy||Online poker|
|Vermont||Online poker||Marijuana||Gay marriage|
|Virginia||Same-sex marriage||Open carry||Gambling|
|Washington||Medical marijuana||Open carry||Gambling|
|Washington, DC||Marijuana||Drinking and driving||Pepper spray|
|West Virginia||Open carry||Fireworks||Adultery|
|Wisconsin||7-day work week||Alcohol consumption by minors||Gay marriage|
|Wyoming||Online poker||Marijuana||Concealed knives|
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