The Best Way To Avoid A Bust Is To Know Your Rights

So long as marijuana prohibition remains in effect there is always a chance you can be fined, jailed and have your life turned upside-down by the law enforcement agencies and courts alike. However, so long as you are not caught sitting on a mound of reefer meditating silently in your front yard, there are some simple ways to avoid getting busted.

(Editor’s note: It’s no secret that this publication is primarily geared to the emerging legal cannabis industry and the movers and shakers that are pushing it forward. However, it is also no secret that thanks to the propaganda pervaded by the now-fading power structure, many parts of this country have yet to come to terms with the benign and even beneficial nature of the plant. This piece was written, not to undermine the rightful duties of law enforcement, but to help individuals still engaged in the struggle to maintain their ability to move forward as new markets continue to open through the changing and evolving laws.)

Most marijuana arrests, especially for petty possession and use, happen as a result of some pretty simple mistakes. These mistakes can be avoided if you know your rights and how to deal with law enforcement. Police are not here to respect your rights. They will do whatever they can to trick you into forfeiting them to give themselves the advantage. Marijuana prohibition is a huge source of income for police departments all around the country. It is in their best interest to make as many busts as possible in order to fund their own departments’ growth, which in turn, provides more funding for the salaries of police employees. Because of this you can expect an officer to use deceit, treachery and intimidation to force you into exposing yourself.

Here are the top three ways to avoid getting busted.

    You are not required to incriminate yourself or provide testimony to police. In some states it is required that you identify yourself, but beyond that you are under no obligation to assist them in investigating their suspicions, warranted or not. If they ask you a question simply respond, “I don’t answer questions.” If you are arrested, say nothing until a lawyer is present. Anything you say WILL be used against you in a court of law. Do not give them that ammo. Yet, the goal is to avoid getting arrested, which brings me to . . .
    When approached by police asking you questions, whether on the street, in a car or at your home, do your best to get away before things get worse. Simply and politely ask, “Am I being detained?” If their answer is no, excuse yourself and hightail it out of there. Make the officer answer the question YES or NO. Do not fall for any pleas for your cooperation. Do not let him make you feel guilty for ending the interaction. You are not obligated to obey police orders if you are not being detained for reasonable suspicion of a crime. Anything you say will just make you more suspect in their mind, no matter how witty it might be. Getting mouthy or confrontational will land you in jail, so get the hell out of there!
    If you are not being legally detained for the suspicion of a crime, are not under arrest or are not presented with a search warrant for your home, vehicle or other property; police have no right to search you. If they ask you, and they will persistently do so, tell them the answer is unequivocally NO! Again, at this point they will plead with you. “Why do you gotta make this difficult?” “If you got nothing to hide, why won’t you just let me take a quick look?” They will do everything they possibly can to get you to give them permission to search you. Even if you do not knowingly possess any illegal substances there is a chance that . . .
    *Traces of drugs from past property owners or guests may be present, which you will then be arrested, charged and prosecuted for. Every search is a threat to your freedoms and liberty.
    *It is not unheard to have evidence planted on your property by law enforcement employees. Inviting them to search your property puts them in position to do so.

Memorize these rights. When the cops are in your face, it is easy to get nervous and make bad choices, which is what they are counting on. Memorize these facts and supplement them with a basic working knowledge of your local and state laws. Then a confrontation with police, while always nerve-wracking, will not have you so anxious you forget what to do.

If you know your rights and exercise them, there is a good chance you can avoid ever paying a fine or seeing the inside of a jail or prison cell for something as joyful and harmless as marijuana. If you also practice common sense by keeping your activities private and out of the eyes, ears and noses of others, you stand a good chance at avoiding a horrible life setback in the hands of a broken system.

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