Okay, we all make mistakes, and we’re usually given a break as long as we didn’t harm anyone or cause damage.
Now that pot legalization is spreading across the land, so too is endless confusion over when, where, how and for whom the new laws will be carried out.
Perhaps it’s a good time to revisit the old Latin maxim: Ignorantia Juris Non Excusat.
“Ignorance of the law is no excuse.”
Let’s take, for example, Lon Victor Post who was sitting in his car last week, listening to music and smoking a joint. If only he’d kept the volume down.
Arizona’s Mohave County police, responding to a loud music complaint, smelled weed and saw a small plastic bag sticking out of Post’s shirt pocket, according to the Daily Miner.
They asked him to turn the music down and show them the plastic bag, which he did. Asked what was in the bag, Post admitted it was weed, then proceeded to add he didn’t need a medical marijuana card to possess it in Arizona.
Oops, wrong answer.
Somehow Post missed the news that recreational weed in Arizona was still illegal, having been narrowly defeated in the November elections.
And, yes, just the odor of weed is probable cause for the cops to search your home or car, despite the fact that MMJ has been legal in Arizona since 2010.
Not known for being good sports when it comes to weed, the officers decided to arrest Post who indignantly resisted because he apparently thought he was being unjustly detained.
Although the officers, according to the Phoenix New Times, noticed that the stoned 54-year-old was having trouble standing upright when he got out of the car, they nevertheless found it necessary to use their Taser on him because he “jerked away” when they tried to take him into custody.
Thinking he was being wrongfully hassled, Post wanted to know why he was being arrested.
“The deputy advised Post that in Arizona, marijuana is illegal without a prescription and medical marijuana card,” according to the Mohave News arrest reports.
Unfortunately, Post is not among the 100,000 registered Arizona MMJ patients.
Even if he was an MMJ cardholder, it is still illegal to smoke weed in public in most states anyhow, including Arizona.
So, now what for Lon Victor Post?
Post was booked on suspicion of resisting arrest, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia—all felonies.
So, yes, ignorance of the law is no excuse, especially in Arizona where possession of small amounts (less than two pounds) of weed and/or paraphernalia can get you from four months up to two years in jail.
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