Sam Shapiro Law Office
Criminal Defense In Bloomington, Indiana

A giveaway gone bad

In the famed cartoon, “One Froggy Evening,” an unnamed construction worker discovered a singing and dancing frog. However, getting the anthropomorphic amphibian to perform in public presented challenges. His strategy of booking a large venue failed to attract anyone at first. That is until he put a sign out front to draw people. The incentive proved to be successful.

Free beer.

Seven advocates for legalized pot decided to capture the attention of passers-by in much the same fashion. Their event was billed as the “First Annual Joint Session” at First Street and Constitution Avenue NE, across the street from the U.S. Capitol and down the block from the Supreme Court. Choosing April 20 as an appropriate date, they gathered to protest federal interference with state laws legalizing pot.

Their strategy? Free joints.

However, their ganja giveaway was not for public consumption, much to the dismay of their fellow “enthusiasts.” Only congressional employees, Capitol Hill support staff and credential journalists older than 21 were eligible for the handouts.

At first, they were confident that staying off federal land would put protect them from arrests. Washington D.C. law permits possession of small amounts (two ounces) of marijuana. However, when it came to the very federal law being protested, confidence was not as “high.”

All seven were subsequently arrested by U.S. Capital police for their complimentary cannabis efforts. Three were charged with intent to distribute and four were charged with possession.

The tug-of-war between federal and state drug laws continues. Confusion over the complexity that leads to legal problems requires a skilled and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney.

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