MARIJUANA

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 XXX, and I will review the law that governs the usage of marijuana in XXX. The XXX marijuana laws were changed drastically and relaxed with the decriminalization of possession in XXX and in XXX. Under this law, proposition 64, (Adult Use of Marijuana Act, XXX), 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 XXX), 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 XXX. 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 XXX 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.

Response to the usage of Marijuana in XXX

The student from XXX claims that the usage of Marijuana in XXX is still criminalized, that the general rule, however, the student concedes to that fact that that varies from counties to counties. It is therefore incumbent upon me to research on the Georgian Marijuana Laws. In my research, it is true, jut as the student had alluded to, that State laws in Georgia vary quite a bit from one county to another ad change very frequently.

The possession of more than one ounce of marijuana in Georgia is a criminal offence (felony) which attracts a jail term of up to 10 years upon conviction. However, certain cities in Georgia have decriminalized the possession of marijuana; an example is the City of Savannah, whose decriminalization of marijuana became effective on XXX. The law there is also liberalized to a larger extent; first offenders are offered an alternative to a jail term as a fine which is up to $150. And just as the student alluded to, if I were a police officer in XXX, that is exactly what I would do.

Response to the usage of Marijuana in XXX

The student underscores that in the State of XXX, Marijuana laws are very strict, it is a criminal offence to possess cannabis in the state of Texas. The student also posits that the State of Texas does not have effective medical cannabis law; hence, the discretion of the police officer, according to the student, is on the strict end, marijuana usage is illegal in the state of Texas; hence, the woman by smoking is culpable of a criminal offence.

This prompts me to do a research on the laws regulating cannabis in XXX. In XXX, the possession of even a tiny pint of Cannabis can make someone land in jail. And just as the Student from Texas has alluded to, while neighboring States are liberalizing their laws,XXX is still a conservative state. However, XXX has passed a very restrictive medical cannabis law allowing a limited use of low-THC, high-CBD cannabis oil. Hence, we say that laws apply territorially, and jurisdiction is territorial. Therefore, in line with the laws of Texas, my discretion as a police officer is on the strict end, the woman has a case to answer for smoking marijuana in Texas, a state where smoking or possessing marijuana is a criminal offence.

References

ARIZONA MEDICAL MARIJUANA ACT, Chapter 28.1, XXX

Arizona Proposition XXX

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

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

State Laws. (XXX). Retrieved from XXX

Kansas Statutes, Chapter 21, CRIMES AND PUNISHMENT, Article 57, CRIMES INVOLVING CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES, 2014

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