Unreasonable Search and Seizure
The Nebraska Supreme Court just rejected an argument that legalization of pot in Colorado should change the standards for searching vehicles in Nebraska.
In Nebraska in 2017, a state trooper after watching a car, at high speed, nearly cause an accident at an intersection made a traffic stop.
When the trooper approached the vehicle, she smelled burned marijuana. The driver denied that there was marijuana in the vehicle or that marijuana had ever been in the car, and said she would not consent to a search. But the trooper did initiate a search, and found 4 grams of methamphetamine.
What is Criminal about Illegal Pot?
The driver was arrested and eventually found guilty of possession of drugs. She appealed based on what she maintained was an unreasonable search – the theory being that because the odor of marijuana no longer suggested criminal activity. Well the judge might have bought that in Colorado but not in Nebraska where pot is not legal.
Among the arguments she raised was that the legalization of marijuana in nearby Colorado had “eroded the legal premise” for conducting a warrantless search because “the odor of marijuana standing alone no longer suggests criminal activity.”
Nebraska state law allows police to conduct a search of a vehicle without seeking a warrant if they reasonably believe that contraband or evidence of a crime will be found. The court long upheld searches by experienced, trained officers who smelled marijuana coming from a vehicle.
Nebraska Senator Erdman and Nebraska’s Burden
Nebraska Senator Steve Erdman is Vocal in Opposition to Marijuana
In response to a new petition drive to legalize medical marijuana in Nebraska, State Senator Steve Erdman has been very vocal on the matter.
- He indicates that medical marijuana is just a ruse to get recreational legalization closer to the finish line.
- He claims that legalization in Colorado has
caused disastrous results in Nebraska, citing:
- Among teens age 12-17 marijuana use has risen by 39 percent
- From 2007-2012 traffic fatalities increased by 100 percent among those testing positive for the drug.
- Emergency room visits related to marijuana use also increased 57 percent from 2011 to 2013.
- Nebraska jails near the Colorado border remain full of those charged with federal drug trafficking
He also reminds Nebraskans that Colorado’s Amendment 64 has done nothing to legalize marijuana:
- Marijuana remains an illegal drug.
- The marijuana plant remains on the federal government’s list of controlled substances.
- Those who grow, manufacture, and dispense the product continue to do so in violation of federal laws.
- Purchasing marijuana at a Colorado dispensary and bringing it across the state line into Nebraska remains a crime.
- Nebraskans often end up paying for the incarceration, rehabilitation, and welfare benefits of Colorado residents as well as Nebraska residents who purchase the drug in Colorado (Nebraska Attorney General, Doug Peterson, has filed a lawsuit against the State of Colorado.)
Impact on Job Applicants
The Senator makes a very interesting point about jobs that is worth exploring. He says that since many employers understand marijuana’s use on the job is not in their best interests, more and more have begun testing for the drug during the hiring process and randomly thereafter. He contends that the availability of marijuana in Colorado has resulted in fewer qualified job applicants living in Western Nebraska than there were just a few years ago. If this is true how will this play out in the country’s overall job market?
The Senator also would like to remind Nebraskans that while President Trump signed the farm bill last Thursday, and took hemp off the federal government’s list of controlled substances, CBD remains prohibited by Nebraska’s laws. Also Nebraska’s Attorney General issued a memo on November 16, 2018 reminding state law enforcement agencies that CBD remains illegal in Nebraska. According to the memo CBD continues to be included in Nebraska’s Uniform Controlled Substances Act’s legal definition of “marijuana.” Only two exceptions exist to the state statute. The first exception allows UNMC to study the drug until October 2019. The second exception allows for the sale of CBD oil, which has been approved by the FDA. But, according to Chris Peterson, an investigator with the Lincoln and Lancaster County Narcotics Task Force, CBD oil has never been approved by the FDA.
Something’s Corny Here – Federal Law Trumps State Laws
I think his argument on CBD is wrong. Generally state laws are trumped by Federal laws. I am sure it will be tested in court. Police in Scottsbluff already used the Nebraska AG’s position on CBD as a justification for raiding a CBD store and arresting a mother and son who ran the shop. This is really crazy for an agricultural state but Nebraska’s number one crop is corn and hemp is a rival to corn for ethanol biofuel material. I tend to think that US prohibition is due more to the disruption hemp could make to various industries like corn/ethanol (and the threats to the status quo who give political campaign donations) than to the intoxicant marijuana.
Call me cynical but I don’t think much of our politicians no matter the party. I think all of this can be remedied with the right lobbyists who make the right campaign contributions. Watch here for updates.
HOT New Hemp Jobs
Associate Attorney – Hemp
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Field Brand Ambassador (Hemp / CBD)
Procana Holdings Inc.
New York, NY
Procana is a leader in the fastest growth segment in nutraceuticals with over 1300 retail stores with our Hemp-CBD products throughout the country. Visit www.Procana.com. We are hiring a Field Brand Ambassador to join our existing top-notch team.
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Product Specialist (Part Time)
Charlotte’s Web Hemp
Los Angeles, CA
Charlotte’s Web products are made from our world-renowned hemp genetics grown 100% in the USA. Founded by the Stanley Brothers of Colorado, Charlotte’s Web leads the industry in quality, safety, consistency and social responsibility to improve thousands of lives daily through the use of Charlotte’s Web products.
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