Articles Posted in marijuana arrest

Marijuana is now legal in a growing number of states. As of this writing, 26 states and the District of Colombia now have some type of legalized marijuana. Six states allow marijuana for recreational use and two others have passed laws to allow it, though they haven’t yet gone into effect. This patchwork of marijuana legalization – without clear, decisive direction from the federal government – has led to some confusion in some regions.arrest

Case-in-point: A man in Arizona was arrested while sitting in his vehicle, listening to music and smoking a little marijuana. Now, as our L.A. marijuana lawyers will tell you, there is more than one flaw in his thinking. The first is that even in states like California where use and possession of marijuana are legal for recreation, public use is not legal. Beyond that, it’s illegal to operate a motor vehicle under the influence or impaired. Even if the vehicle was not on, authorities could make the argument that he was “in control” of the vehicle and, depending on state DUI or OUI statutes, that could mean even just sitting in the car with the keys in the ignition.

But this defendant’s biggest problem was that marijuana is not even legal in Arizona, at least not for recreational use. Continue reading

With so much talk about the legalization of recreational marijuana in California – it’s on the ballot for next week – it’s tempting to think that arrests for marijuana offenses are a thing of the past. Unfortunately, it seems likely law enforcement and prosecutors will be targeting marijuana growers, distributors and users up until the very last minute.police line

Recently, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department announced it raided a Canyon County strip mall, search warrant in hand, following an investigation sparked by a tip from a local citizen. At the site, investigators reportedly discovered an “elaborate” indoor marijuana cultivation system in several of the units. They also found an undetermined amount of money, plus nearly 2,500 plants in various stages of growth. There was also an additional 200 pounds of the finished product (in the form of dried marijuana buds) seized, as well as an estimated 50 pounds of edible, THC-infused products, such as suckers and cookies. Expensive air filtration systems were reportedly designed to help keep the odor from getting outside.

Although three men were detained at the scene, two were released. A third, a 28-year-old man from Los Angeles, was arrested for possession of marijuana for sales. The combined value of the plants is estimated to be approximately $6.2 million, while the combined value of the dried buds and edible products was approximately $500,000.  Continue reading

The failed war on drugs created the characterization of marijuana as this dangerous, addictive gateway to harder substances. This assertion has largely been debunked. And yet, the drug remains a Schedule I narcotic and people continue to face arrest and prosecution – even serious prison time – for manufacturing, buying, selling and possessing the drug, even though no violent crime has been committed. police car

Some of the latest data to have emerged in recent weeks on marijuana arrests gives us a little hope, but also illustrates how much farther we have to go on this issue.

The first analysis was conducted by The Washington Post after receiving the latest FBI unified crime statistics from 2015. Reporters learned that the number of marijuana possession arrests last year – 575,000 – was the lowest its been since 1996. It also shows us a 7 percent year-over-year drop, and an approximately 35 percent dip since 2007, when pot possession arrests were at their peak of 800,000. Now, this would suggest that police are overall spending less time to marijuana enforcement, particularly with regard to other drugs. But then, we consider a joint report by the Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union that shows the 575,000 marijuana arrests in 2015 for low-level personal use last year numbered 13.6 percent more than the 506,000 arrests made for all violent crimes that same year – including for murder, rape and serious assaults.  Continue reading

Voters in California are slated to decide in November whether to allow fully legal use of marijuana for recreational purposes. The outcome is probably going to a significant influence on marijuana policy in other states, particularly those surrounding, either way it goes. handcuffs

One of the arguments people have made against legalization of recreational marijuana is that, for the most part, the drug is already legal here. After all, this was the first state to allow medical marijuana 20 years ago, and patients can ask for – and receive – marijuana for just about any condition. State lawmakers also decriminalized possession of small amounts of the drug five years ago, making possession of anything less than an ounce an infraction similar to getting a parking ticket.

However, a new report released by Drug Policy Alliance (a pro-marijuana advocacy group) revealed that between 2006 and 2015, there have been almost half a million arrests on marijuana charges in California. That’s based on figures from the state Department of Justice. And while misdemeanor arrests did fall substantially after the 2011 decriminalization of the drug, there are still thousands of people being arrested on misdemeanor marijuana charges – and thousands more on felony charges, which hardly dropped at all.  Continue reading

Federal authorities have decided they will drop the charges pending against a teen who was charged with possession of about one gram of marijuana, after the case gained national attention in Oregon. bud1

The Native American teenager had faced a federal misdemeanor – which carries a possible one-year prison term and a $1,000 fine – after another student was caught with the drug in his backpack and pointed to defendant as the person from whom he had purchased it. The amount of the drug found – 1 gram – is approximately enough to roll one joint, maybe two if you stretch it. In addition to the possible prison sentence and out-sized fine, the teen would have faced denial of federal student loans, public housing and government aid – for life.

Possession of marijuana has been decriminalized in Oregon. In fact, the drug has even been legal for adult recreational use in that state since 2014. But federal authorities became involved because the incident occurred at a boarding school for Native American students that is operated by the U.S. Bureau of Indian Education. That meant this 19-year-old kid, who was preparing for college in this fall, had this possible one-year federal prison term hanging over his head. Continue reading

Two consultants working with a Native American tribe with plans to open the country’s first “marijuana resort” have been arrested and charged with drug offenses by the South Dakota Attorney General’s office. nightclub

Authorities have charged the two men with illegally and covertly shipping marijuana seeds from the Netherlands via compact disc cases and sewn into clothing inseams.

These charges were filed some eight months after tribe, the Flandreau Santee Sioux, decimated the existing marijuana crop, fearing federal authorities were preparing a raid on the operation. That marked the abandonment of an elaborate plan to found what was described as an “adult playground,” which it was believed could help rake in as much as $2 million every month in profits.  Continue reading

A recent police raid of a popular Santa Rosa cannabis dispensary that services thousands of medical marijuana patients sparked a huge protest and intense political pressure, ultimately leading to the owner being released with no bail and no criminal charges pending. jail2

The company, Care By Design, is back in business, making its cannabis oil-infused products. Police likely didn’t expect the backlash when they raided the facility, which is run by a prominent, well-connected professional.

Authorities initially arrested Operator Dennis Hunter on charges of spearheading a meth lab-type operation. His bail was set at an eye-popping $5 million. The next day, hundreds of people gathered in front of the Sonoma County courthouse to protest the arrest. Local officials were hounded with a letter-writing campaign. A long-time, respected politician stepped in with his support. City officials then began weighing in.  Continue reading

The U.S. Supreme Court has just handed down two rulings that may have widened the ability of law enforcement to conduct illegal searches – something our Los Angeles marijuana arrest lawyers find deeply troubling. handcuffs6

In one case, there was an expansion of the exception to a long-standing rule that unlawfully-gathered evidence had to be discarded. In the second ruling, the court held that those who deal drugs – even those who only selling locally to their neighbors – were in effect a part of some larger interstate commerce.

As Phillip Smith of StopTheDrugWar.org pointed out, these two decisions:

  • Widen local police’s ability to sidestep the law without accountability;
  • Give prosecutors the muscle of the federal government to crush small-time, low-level drug dealers and other criminals.

The high court has long deferred to the position of law enforcement officers. But this is often done to the detriment of the public at-large.  Continue reading

The turning tide of marijuana reform first started in the 1970s, as many state and local governments started to recognize the ill effects of locking up non-violent, low-level offenders for mere possession of the drug. One of the first states to climb on board the decriminalization movement was New York, with its Marijuana Reform Act of 1977. That measure decriminalized small-time possession.marijuana2

And yet, as it was recently reported by The Village Voice, the number of marijuana arrests in state in 2013 was the highest of any other in the country. With an average of more than 535 marijuana arrests per 100,000 people, it was more than double the national average.

Then in 2014, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio updated police policy to allow officers to issue a summons rather than initiate an arrest for anyone caught with 25 grams or less. That slashed the number of misdemeanor marijuana arrests virtually overnight by nearly 60 percent between 2014 and 2015. Continue reading

A Colorado woman whose son was injured when he jumped out of a window after consuming a marijuana-laced brownie his mother had procured for his friend will serve 30 days in jail. chippedglass

That’s according to the latest from The Coloradoan, which also noted the district court judge tacked on two years of probation as well.

Defendant had pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge of providing marijuana to a person who was younger than 21. However, she was deemed not guilty of the felony charge of witness tampering.  Continue reading