March 21, 2023


The issue in this case study is on the discretion to be exercised by a police officer in finding a lady aged 45 years old smoking a “joint” by a side walk, and the only marijuana she has in her possession is the joint, which is less than 10 grams. I reside in the state of California, and I will review the law that governs the usage of marijuana in California. The California marijuana laws were changed drastically and relaxed with the decriminalization of possession in 1996 and in 2016. Under this law, proposition 64, (Adult Use of Marijuana Act, 2016), adults aged 21 years of age and above may possess, purchase and consume up to 28.5 grams of marijuana in their private residence or in a place licensed for marijuana consumption.

From that set of laws, a plain literal interpretation of the statutory law places my discretion as a police officer on the steps to take on the loose end. While it is within the law that the lady is aged 45 years which is 24 years above the statutory age limit, also, the marijuana that she is in possession of is 18.5 grams less than what is provided for in the statute, she is culpable under the last facet of the statutory provision, that they should consume the marijuana in their residence or in a place designated for such activity. That places my discretion on a sliding scale.

In my response to my peers, I have two peers from two states, one is from the State of Arizona, and the other is from the State of Kansas.  I am made to understand that under the law in operation in the State of Arizona, the use of marijuana is fully legal, whether the use is medicinal or recreational. Under the Marijuana Act (Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, 2021), the voters called the Arizona Department of Health Services to create a medical marijuana programme. The Act authorizes the possession and personal use of up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana, with written authorization from a medical practitioner.

Under the Arizonian law, the State of Arizona legalized the recreational use of marijuana but with an exception that only the adult citizenry aged 21 years and above can use marijuana for recreational purposes (Arizona Proposition 207, 2020). However, under the law of Arizona, the possession or sale of more than 28 grams is still a criminal offence and the classification in which one is categorized above the 28 grams attract various fines and penalties.

So, if I was the police Officer on routine patrol in the State of Arizona, my discretion under the Marijuana Laws of Arizona is on the loose end, first, the woman is above the minimum age of 21 years, second, the only marijuana she has in her possession is the joint, which is less than 10 grams. Clearly, from the set of facts and the requisite law of Arizona, the woman is not criminally culpable at all material times.

In the state of Kansas, the use of marijuana is fully illegal and the use of marijuana for medical purposes is also highly curtailed with the effect of total criminalization of marijuana use in the State of Kansas. Under the laws of Kansas, possessing pot for personal use or for sale , selling and distributing marijuana are illegal (Kansas Statutes Chapter 21, Article 57, 2018). Further, growing or cultivating is also illegal. The 1st possession charge is a misdemeanor that one can be penalized with a one year jail term and a fine of $2500, 2nd Marijuana charge is severity level 5 drugs which is a felony. So, if I was a police officer in the State of Kansas, my discretion is on the strict sense, since the use of marijuana is criminalized, I would arrest the lady and charge her accordingly.



Arizona Proposition 207, 2020

California Marijuana Laws- Adult Use of Marijuana Act, 2016, Proposition 64, available at 

DISA Global Solutions (2019). Map of Marijuana Legality by State. Retrieved from

State Laws. (2019). Retrieved from


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