Med. marijuana patients pulled over by cops talking their way into jail?

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You're a medical marijuana patient, and a police officer pulls you over and says he smells pot. So you immediately show him your ID card and talk about how long it's been since you've medicated.

Smart move? Not according to ex-judge Leonard Frieling, who says this approach will likely result in a one-way ticket to jail.

As we pointed out in the profile linked above, Frieling is a former municipal court judge for the City of Lafayette who quit his job in 2007 over marijuana policy. He's now a Boulder-based criminal defense attorney, a cannabis advocate and a member of LEAP: Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a national organization that backs the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act of 2012, for which he and fellow LEAP rep Tony Ryan collected signatures last August.

leonard frieling.jpg
Leonard Frieling.
This evening at 7 p.m. mountain time, Frieling will be conducting a live teleclass under the auspices of the Cannabis Therapy Institute about medical marijuana and DUID; for details about how to take part, click here. But as a preview, he offers the following advice: "In general, there are two ways to deal with cops. You tell them the truth, or you shut the fuck up."

And when it comes to a traffic stop involving a medical marijuana patient, he advises the latter.

According to Frieling, patients and those who use alcohol "come at this from the perspective of 'How do I get away with it?' And that's an overall losing strategy. That's planning to lose. And I'd just as soon plan to win."

With that in mind, he tells his clients, "Don't drive impaired. Don't break two laws at the same time. And don't confess," which individuals are essentially doing in the view of most police officers when they volunteer their status as a medical marijuana patient. He offers the following example.

"A cop pulls someone over and says, 'What's that I smell?' And the patient says, 'I have a license, and here's all my pot. And yes, I smoked, but it was a couple of hours ago.'"

By making this admission, Frieling maintains, the patient immediately moves the case into tricky territory. "Suddenly, we're arguing about how long it affects you -- and that's a harder argument to make."

Indeed it is, as the Colorado legislature discovered earlier this year.

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45 comments
CitizenX
CitizenX

There is never a circumstance where you answer a cops questions, no matter how harmless it seems.  Beyond name, rank and serial number (pun intended) your standard response is "give me the ticket or let me go".

edited to point out that if you are a witness to another's crimes that is a different story. Even then, if you are potentially a suspect, have an attorney present.

fratdawgg23
fratdawgg23

Only been asked once by a cop if he could "check inside my car" while he was peering in w/a MagLite. I was polite but said "No, I'd rather not, I have client documents in my briefcase and clothes that I need to take to the cleaners in the morning." He pressed a bit more, though in a polite manner, "So you are saying 'yes' or 'no' to me looking around inside the car?" I just said - as politely as possible without sounding sarcastic - "No." He then punished me by taking 18 minutes to run my license. Afterwards he brought my license back, said 'Thank you, have a good night", and that was it. I was really nervous actually saying 'no' at first, but when pressed and knowing completely that there was nothing illegal in my car, I felt more confident that I did assert my right to decline his search request. I could sense he was kind of irritated that my answers were 'yes', 'no' and didn't allow my 'buttons' to be pushed and was polite.

Buddhartha
Buddhartha

Are you drunk cause that made no sense?

Horstmueller666
Horstmueller666

The other fact is that you all stink up the air around you which is a lack of respect. Would you like to smell my ass as I fart next to you, what is your excuse I'm 41 and I've never needed that stuff to get through life your all pathetic and weak. As for medicine you should turn it into a poll form because you don't have the right to poison me it's not in the constitution either. So poison yourself and at least have the respect to keep your loser habit to yourself. And by the way fuck off and die a slow miss arable death.

Buddhartha
Buddhartha

"Your all losers". Irony? Actually it's "You're all losers", Artard.

Lakersfan2784
Lakersfan2784

Oh? I thought that said miss arab. She sounds hot, unlike your wife.

MikeParent
MikeParent

Medicate at home and don't drive when you do.  Otherwise, you're playing "Moth" to the Officer's "Flame".NYPD, ret.   LEAP member

Colorado Mmj Patient
Colorado Mmj Patient

There are two keys to make your encounter with police the best it can be:

1. Be VERY respectful2. Keep your damn mouth CLOSED.

Bobby
Bobby

"And if, before any of that happens, an officer asks, 'What's that I smell?' "  There is no way you can know what an officer is smelling.  Correct answer "I don't know"

GetReal
GetReal

What's the smell is a key component to the gotcha games cops play daily....next thing ya know your giving up constitutional rights and civil liberties and getting your car searched after you unknowingly give them permission to do so. 

Soundboybiz
Soundboybiz

I have to disagree even with the judge and lawyer.  I have been caught 12 or 13 times with herbs.  Every single time I kept it real with the police and every single time i was set free. This was all in Memphis and once in Mississippi though and i hate to put it this way but i'm white. If i were a minority i would probably be telling a different story.  I've had cops say "Hey man, I smoke at home and I don't care if you do, but you are putting me in a bad position running a red-light smoking a joint.  If had a partner with me i'd have to take you jail so i wouldn't look soft on drugs."  I've had them hand me my weed back and tell me to get rid of it.  I've had to dump it out.  I even pulled out 2 big bags at an "empty your pockets" police checkpoint entering Beale St. in Memphis.  The cop looked right at it and waived me on.  So for me personally the straightforward approach has never failed.  But kids may not want to try this at home.

RyanJohnSmith
RyanJohnSmith

In Mississippi I know for a fact they impound your car if they find herb in it.

Lenman_99
Lenman_99

You must be a really bad driver if you have been pulled over 13 times! I have driven stoned for 30 years and about 500,000 miles and have only been pulled over for speeding a couple of times and have never been in a wreck. It is fairly simple blow the smoke out the window and don't carry a bunch of weed with you when you drive.

GetReal
GetReal

So what's your badge number, Soundboybiz? No freaking way I'm buying your post for even a nanosecond. 

Guest Avacados
Guest Avacados

thats funny man... I was let go three times in a zero-tolerance state over the age of 18 but under 25. All three times I was honest. Twice I left with the cannabis. Smoking in your car in Colorado as a patient isn't smart, even if you're not going to drive it until later.

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Very interesting post, Soundboybiz. Thanks for weighing in.

Bobby
Bobby

know your audience.  be honest with reasonable officers, shut the fuck up if the officer is out to nail you

Guest Avacados
Guest Avacados

If you know what they're pulling you over for, say yes when they ask about it. That way you can have a conversation about that and go on your way. Most of the time it results in a warning, especially if the appearance of you or your car left them surprised that you were honest and respectful. If you're younger than older, yes sir and yes ma'am is like the "i come in peace" of police/youth communication - even if they're calling you dude or man or about the same age. It may feel like a ding in your pride but who cares? You're stuck on the side of the road dealing with some uncomfortable sh*t instead of living your day.

john Barnes
john Barnes

They are all out to nail ya, it's there job, they have a quota to fill and you are the target !  You are full of it BOB !!

Granny
Granny

I agree.  most cops are nothing more than predators out looking to score.  Protect yourself by avoiding them and give them nothing when you are unable to avoid them.  What a bunch of lairs and con artists!

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Sounds like you're on Leonard Frieling's wavelength. Thanks for the post, Bobby.

Debra      Impastato
Debra Impastato

id shut the trap that is the mouth. make em work for it...

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

Colorado has been in the midst of an assault on drivers who use cannabis for some time -- we heard testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee last legislative session from State Toxicologist Cindy Burbach and the owner of a private drug testing lab that the State has a tremendous backlog of untested blood samples taken at the behest of the police.  In light of evidence being amassed (see e.g. http://blogs.westword.com/late... that cannabis is actually significantly lowering traffic fatalities in Colorado, the Prohibitionists' war against drivers with THC in their blood is macabre -- local police and the CDOT alike are acting to make us less safe on the roads and throwing away taxpayers' money for the sole purpose of trying to demonize safe drivers who use cannabis, and to steal their money and deprive them of their livelihoods.  The pigs who make their living this way are going to repeat the Big Lie that cannabis threatens public safety no matter how solid the evidence to the contrary, but we need to call them out on it, because however much the public at large has been duped, the truth (and, increasingly, the science) is on our side.

Sharpshooter
Sharpshooter

When the cop asks, "What's that I smell?" I always respond, "Well, a cop is talking, so it must be bullshit, DUDE!" They love that!Seriously, though, don't say shit except name, rank and serial number to any cop, EVER!

Donkey Hotay's Dog
Donkey Hotay's Dog

LOL - when I was a kid, the code phrase for cops coming is "I smell bacon."

RyanJohnSmith
RyanJohnSmith

The glove compartment is locked so is the trunk in the back...

TimothyTipton
TimothyTipton

A $4.20 donation to The Cannabis Therapy Institute makes this Teleclass Offering a HUGE VALUE!

Reality
Reality

Anything that Timmy Tipton is supporting is, at best, very sketchy. Google him and find out about all of his misadventures and the grief they have caused the REAL patients in Colorado.

"Tim Tipton + mmj scam"

KaDargo
KaDargo

True that!  Better to convicted of a crime than to do anything Tom supports?  I don't know Tim, but know that one can easily be convicted of actions that one does not even know are illegal.  Ignorance to the law is no excuse!

Do the right thing?  Yeah, for law enforcement!

KaDargo
KaDargo

Never talk to the police.  Ignorance to the law is no excuse.  It is illegal for us to lie to the police, but legal for them to lie to us.  Anything you say can and WILL be used against you.  NEVER talk to them. You have a constitutional right to remain silent!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

You will NEVER talk you way out of trouble.  Their job is to gather evidence, hopefully enough to arrest you!  That evidence wilt then be used AGAINST you in court!  Tell them you want to talk to an attorney before answering any questions!

CannabisKid
CannabisKid

Worked for me!  I ended up in jail for a couple of days before being able to post bod, but they ended up not have much of a case against me.  They knew I was guilty, but could not prove it.  Glad I shut the fuck up!

Dave
Dave

Automatically lose your license for a year.

They fuck you either way.

Dave
Dave

I would just say: "Am I under arrest or can I be on my way?"

KaDargo
KaDargo

First, they have to get enough evidence against you.  Most of that is gather by people talking with the police.

"What's the smell?"  is a lie used to get you to confess...a.k.a...giving up your 5th amendment right and allowing yourself to be a witness against you!  Don't fall for that!

"Do you know why I pulled you over?"  Another attempt to violate your 5th amendment rights.  Respond with "I'll let you tell me."  Sure, you might look guilty, but better than opening your mouth and giving them evidence or worse yet, lie to them and get another charge against you!

90% of evidence is gathered from people talking with the police.

CitizenX
CitizenX

There is also the "mind if I search you for weapons" or search your car for weapons (usually turned into humor by citing the bazooka or stinger missile) joke.  During a stop involving a potential crime (traffic stops do not rise to this standard), cops can pat down the OUTSIDE of your clothing for weapons.  Beyond that, they do not have the right to molest you in the search for mythical weapons.

CannabisKid
CannabisKid

"I'll let you tell me?"  That's talking to the police.  I'd simply say nothing.

KaDargo
KaDargo

Man your right!  Better to say nothing.  Why look guilty at all?  Wow, see how easy it is to get deeper into the shit?  I'll take your advice and shut the fuck up! 

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