Ask A Lawyer: Defense Attorney Welcomes Your Weed Worries

Part of publishing a site such as Elevated Nation is assembling a crack legal team.

Here, one of our legal eagles, Jeremy-Evan Alva answers your concerns on cannabis.

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Dear Jeremy,

My friend and I are going to bake some pot brownies or banana bread but she said we’d be better off making candies or something smaller. Why? She claims if we got caught that the police would charge us on the weight of the pastries not the amount of weed that actually went into it (Only 1/4 or maybe 1/2 ounce). I told her she’s crazy. Who’s right?

Signed,

Baked in Boston

Hi Baked,

I cannot ethically answer your question since I cannot give advice on how to commit a crime.

Remember in Massachusetts where you are, marijuana is still illegal.

With that said the police weigh the item and do not perform any investigation into how much marijuana was used.  There is no standard amount that goes into baking.  

Dear Jeremy,

I got pulled over recently and the police allegedly smelled weed in my car, though I hadn’t been smoking in it at all, and found an ounce in my trunk. Is an officer merely claiming to smell it really considered probable cause? Can my lawyer and I attack the cop and challenge his sense of smell in court if my case gets that far. Fingers crossed it won’t.

Signed,

Pig-nosed in Pittsburgh

Hello, Pig-nosed,

Plain smell doctrine has been around since [fill in year].  The officer may testify that he smelled a strong odor of fresh marijuana coming from the vehicle.  He then searched the vehicle and in the trunk found the ounce.  

Your lawyer should attack the credibility of the officer in arguing the motion to suppress.  There are many avenues in this cross examination and science could be on your side depending on the marijuana and if you have an expert to argue the smell.  Not all marijuana has the same pungency.

Dear Jeremy,

My friend in Colorado keeps saying she’s gonna mail me weed from her local dispensary. I wanna try a few strains she’s hyping, but I’m a little scared. Isn’t that what mail fraud is all about? If the package was intercepted couldn’t I just act like I didn’t know it was coming?

Signed,

Nervous in New Orleans

Dear Nervous,

This is not only a state crime but a federal one too.   Federal court not only has higher penalties, but much higher lawyer fees, so save your money now.  Marijuana is legal in the state of Colorado, but illegal in the United States of America.  

As for your defense, it depends on the exact circumstances/facts in your case.

Dear Jeremy,

I recently flew back from my best friend’s bachelorette party in Cali and I happened to bring a little souvenir, well, actually about 1/4 oz inside my, OK I’ll just say it, in my vagina. My mom freaked out when I told her and said I coulda been locked up for life as a drug mule or something. I said my pussy is unsearchable and foolproof. Who’s right?

Signed,

Stuffed in South Dakota

Dear Stuffed,

I do not know the secrets of your vagina, but with that being said, vaginas may be searched.  It is commonly called a body cavity search. I doubt you would be called a drug mule since it is only a 1/4 ounce but the mere fact that the marijuana is in your vagina might cause authorities to question you more than the person who just has it on their person.  

Defense Attorney Jeremy-Evan Alva is a member of NORML’s Legal Committee. He is a partner at the Alva-Shuttleworth firm in Philadelphia.

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