Chicago rapper Twista, known in large part for his rhymes about marijuana use, was busted in March on a misdemeanor cannabis charge as he was on his way to perform at an Indiana night club.

Carl Terrell Michell, aka Twista
Carl Terrell Michell, aka Twista

Twista, whose legal name is Carl Terrell Mitchell, was arrested March 25 during a traffic stop in Northwest Indiana. He was a passenger in a black Rolls-Royce traveling on a local highway in Portage, Ind., and police stopped the car for allegedly tailgating an SUV.

The stop happened at about 10:30 p.m., shortly before the rapper was scheduled to perform at the Big Shots bar in South Haven, Ind., according to the Porter County Sheriff’s Office. An officer approached the Rolls-Royce and reportedly smelled burned cannabis from inside the car.

Pulled over for tailgating

The officer asked the driver to exit the car, and the driver told the officer he was tailing the SUV because it, too, was headed to the club. The driver said he knew the people in the other vehicle.

The driver also said he was driving Twista to the show along with an entourage that included two other passengers in the Rolls-Royce, and admitted he and his passengers had smoked marijuana in the car. The officers searched the Rolls-Royce and allegedly found a half ounce of cannabis in a stash can, police said. The driver and his three passengers were all arrested after denying the pot was theirs.

Police claimed they targeted the Rolls-Royce because of past problems with violence at the club. Marijuana possession is still a crime in Indiana, punishable by up to 180 days in jail and $1,000 in fines for 30 grams or less. Penalties jump to one year in jail and $5,000 in fines if the defendant has a prior drug conviction. These are some of the most punitive cannabis possession laws in the United States.

Indiana’s strict cannabis possession laws

TwistaPolice said they intentionally targeted Twista and his entourage because they expected they would draw a large crowd to Big Shots.

“The information we received regarding the two booked at Big Shots (Twista on March 24 and Montana of 300 on March 25) alleged they would bring a large crowd to the area,” Porter County Sheriff David Reynolds said in a statement. “In the past, violence had erupted at these rap artists’ concerts.”

Twista, 42, faces a single count of misdemeanor marijuana possession along with the driver, Johnnie Eull, 42; passenger Michael Alton Moore, 43; and passenger Darrin Jamar Woody, 26. They were released on $500 cash bond each.

Twista is well-known for his rhymes about marijuana, among other topics. In “Fire,” released in 2009, he raps about toking: “Looking at me rolling the blunt / And I’m huffing and puffing / I can’t get enough of this stuff and I’m losing my logic / You could smell it all on my follicles.”

Tell us: Are Indiana’s marijuana laws too harsh? Do arrests like these help or hurt the rap community? Comment below.

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