On Jan. 1, Texas police officers arrested a man from out of state for possessing medical marijuana. The 67-year-old grandfather, who lives in California, was initially pulled over for speeding. During a search of his vehicle, police found 4 ounces of marijuana and edible cookies in his trunk. The man has been charged with two felonies. He was released from jail after posting bond.
The man has had a prescription for medical marijuana for 10 years. He says it has helped him deal with a number of medical conditions, including complications from heart surgery, and has improved his health. He was in Texas to visit his granddaughter, who has cancer.
Federal law does not generally protect people who carry marijuana to other states. Texas only allows patients with epilepsy to use medical marijuana if a doctor prescribes it to them. The man does not plan on accepting a plea deal because he doesn’t believe he has committed any wrongdoing. It may be up to six months before he’s required to appear in court.
If the police wish to search a vehicle they’ve pulled over, they must follow certain protocols. The driver needs to give them permission, or they need a reason to believe that there’s evidence of a crime in the vehicle. In this case, police conducted a search after the man admitted to having a pipe, so they had reason to believe he was in possession of drugs. People who have had a drug charge filed against them following a traffic stop could benefit from enlisting the help of an attorney who can evaluate whether a search was conducted in accordance with constitutional procedures.