So it turns out, maybe there is such a thing as too stoned.
Most people who smoke, buy, sell or otherwise deal in sizable quantities of weed are pretty careful about where they take their stash. Granted, I used to have a dealer who met me on the sidewalk a block down from a police station. But that was New York, where no one paid attention and no one cared.
In most other settings, people who carry pot know better than to walk through public parks, stroll past elementary schools or loiter in front of precinct houses. One unfortunate man, however, doesn’t seem to have been in marijuana school the day that lesson was taught.
The man, who was unnamed by government officials, apparently tried to carry nearly an ounce of pot into the Pentagon. And he did almost nothing to hide it.
Making matters worse, the man tried to stroll into one of the most heavily guarded buildings in the world on Nov. 19, the day officials implemented an “enhanced” security screening of civilian defense employees, which is what he is (or was).
The screening turned up some contraband, including knives, pepper spray and something described only as “drug paraphernalia,” but nothing that surprised them like the man with the weed.
Marijuana is legal as medicine in 20 states, and legal for any purpose in two. But it remains illegal under federal criminal law.
Defense officials declined to disclose the man’s name because the incident didn’t involve national security. But if the government decides to prosecute, the man’s name will eventually become public.
He would most likely be prosecuted by the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, though no such case had been scheduled on that court’s Pentagon docket, according to Foreign Policy magazine.
It’s not clear what kind of charges the man might face. He was carrying less than an ounce, which is the cutoff point in many jurisdictions for simple possession charges: Anything less than an ounce is a misdemeanor, while anything greater is a felony.
But under federal law, there is no possession cutoff. Possession of any amount of weed is a misdemeanor, while sale of any amount is a felony. Prosecutors may interpret even relatively small amounts to indicate intent to sell, so in some cases possession of 25 grams could be used to file felony charges – even though it’s treated as a misdemeanor in most other jurisdictions.
Which is what makes this man’s mistake so head-smackingly stupifying. He not only tried to walk nearly an ounce of marijuana through a top-level military screening post, he did it on federal grounds.
What’s more, he didn’t have to go through the checkpoint at all. Under federal law, everyone has the right to refuse screening and walk away.
Who knows, maybe it was something in the air.