Knowing your rights

At the end of 2012, there are 16 states with medical marijuana and 2 states that have legalized the shit out of the world’s most popular plant. Marijuana is becoming more and more tolerated, but since it is still illegal under federal and many state laws it’s important to know how to protect yourself if you encounter a law enforcement officer. Knowing your rights when you’re face to face with a cop can help keep you and your stash protected. If you don’t evoke your rights, the narks certainly aren’t going to respect them.

Some of the most basic rights we are afforded include the 4 th Amendment of the American constitution, which asserts your right to be secure in your person, house and protects you from unreasonable search and seizure. Warrants must be supported by probable cause, affirmation, oath, or particularity. And the 5th Amendment allows you to remain silent and not incriminate yourself. These are the rights that will help you when you have an encounter with the police.

There are three levels of police interactions that dictate the length to which you are able to have control over the situation. The first is and least threatening is the casual encounter, and not the kinds from Craigslist. This is casual conversation with a cop, where they are trying to get information from you but don’t have any request or permission to do so. This includes speaking in a commanding presence to try and intimidate you into saying something incriminating. Second is detention; when you are being detained under reasonable suspicion that you were involved in illegal activity. If a cop starts asking you questions, ask if you’re free to leave, or being detained. If you’re not, you do not have to respond to their questions. If you are, you have a duty to identify yourself and give your name, and detention can easily turn into an arrest.

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