Medical Marijuana 411. What to do if you’re pulled over.
Medical marijuana’s legalization in Nevada creates a conundrum for patients. What should they do if they’re carrying the drug in their cars when police pull them over?
8 Ball Bail Bonds says this issue is current; the company is seeing more patients getting arrested and seeking help.
Michael Becker of Las Vegas Defense Group says this situation shouldn’t be scary. A valid patient — having a current medical marijuana card — who carries no more than 2.5 ounces of usable medical marijuana (an amount he’s allowed to buy every two weeks) — and isn’t visibly high — should avoid arrest.
Valid patients who are below the minimum prohibited amount of marijuana in blood or urine are legal, Becker said. Paul Schloss, a partner with GettingLegal.com, a medical marijuana evaluation center, warned that people who smoke are “high” for two to four hours; the effect of edibles can last up to 12 hours.
Pulled-over patients should focus on traffic breaches, Schloss advised. If the officer asks if there is anything he should know, patients should say no and show marijuana or marijuana cards only if asked, he said.
“Think of marijuana like any other medicine you have,” Schloss said. “Be sure it is in its original packaging and that you have your receipt and card with you.”
If the officer smells marijuana and asks when the patient last used, the patient should answer truthfully, Schloss said.
“Tie in your diagnosis. It’s been about five days since my back has been hurting.”
For maximum safety, Schloss recommends patients delay opening medical marijuana packages until they’ get home from the dispensary. Authorities, he added, won’t tolerate marijuana smoking in cars, for drivers or passengers.
“They are trying to determine you are not intoxicated before they let you go,” he said.
In most cases, police do not want to arrest patients carrying their medicinal marijuana, Becker said. But if they do, an arrest doesn’t guarantee a conviction.
“Following an arrest, a defense attorney may be able to show the district attorney that the arrestee broke no law and should not face charges,” Becker said. “Then if the D.A. brings charges anyway, a defense attorney can still try to get the charges dismissed through negotiation.
“And, as a last resort, the defense attorney can take the matter to trial and fight for an acquittal.”
Becker recommends medical marijuana patients hire an attorney at once after an arrest or if they suspect they’re under investigation. Because Nevada’s court system is complex, he said, patients may have trouble defending their cases without experienced counsel.
If you need help getting out of jail for any marijuana related charged … legal or not, give 8-Ball Bail Bonds a call – available to help 24 x 7.