Medical Cannabis Patient Charged with Possession for Having Pot on Federal Land
Prosecutors offered to drop the charge if the Arizona resident paid half the fine, but he’s choosing to fight double-standard weed laws in court instead.
Published on September 23, 2020
Here’s a sobering reminder of the stupid times we live in: Even if your state has legalized medical marijuana and you are a licensed patient in that region, you can still get busted for possession if you bring your doctor-prescribed medicine onto federally-owned land because cannabis is still (some how) federally illegal.
This is exactly what happened to Nathan Freddy. Last April, Freddy and some friends hiked through Arizona’s Aravaipa Canyon, a highly protected federal park that requires a permit to visit, when a Bureau of Land Management ranger approached him.
When the ranger asked to see the group’s permit, Freddy opened his bag to look for it. The ranger said he noticed the smell of marijuana — which doesn’t justify police searches in many states now — and asked permission to search the rest of Freddy’s belongings. Freddy complied, confident that he had nothing to hide, even as the ranger pulled out a jar of weed, a pipe, a grinder, and a vape pen.
In response, Freddy produced his Arizona-issued medical cannabis card and explained that everything in his possession was covered by a doctor-prescribed treatment for chronic pain. The ranger said that regardless of state regulations, Freddy was just caught with pot on federal land and was being issued a citation for possession.
It’s a serious charge, and prosecutors reportedly offered to drop it if Freddy agreed to pay half the fine. Freddy did not agree. Instead, Freddy is taking his case to court, aiming to fight the foolishness of patchwork pot laws like the one that got him busted.
“I would like to be tried in front of my peers and see what they think,” Freddy told the Phoenix New Times. “I don’t think it’s right to deal with two sets of rules.”
It’s not right, of course, and Freddy is right to fight it. His case is especially relevant in a place like Arizona, where medical marijuana is legal except on federal lands. That double-standard creates a considerable problem, then, as federal lands comprise more than 30 percent of the state’s total territory.
The Arizona US Attorney’s office reportedly responded with no comment beyond a link to a 2018 order from then-Attorney General loser, Jeff Sessions. It’s a charmer of an edict in which the Department of Justice dismissed Obama-era directions that feds should generally respect the cannabis laws set up by individual states.
Worthless, weed-hating Jeff Sessions eventually got fired from the AG office, but the fascist, bullying cruelty and stupidity he inflicted on society continues to run amuck in our present nightmare version of a government.
We need to fire Trump and his entire stinking cabal of anti-marijuana, anti-sanity miscreants this November. Please register to vote now, and let’s all take a step toward rising from the ruins of our once democratic country to create a freer, more just, more compassionate — and absolutely 100-percent weed-legal — America. Make the White House cannabis-friendly again!
Mike McPadden is the author of “Heavy Metal Movies” and the upcoming “Last American Virgins.” He writes about movies, music, and crime in Chicago. Twitter @mcbeardo
Share this article with your friends!
MORE FROM MERRY JANE