LOOSE LIPS SINK SHIPS: Whether arrested or not, individuals should always exercise the right to remain silent. Anything a person says to law enforcement officers, reporters, cellmates, or even their friends can--and probably will--be used as evidence against them.

Individuals have the right to have an attorney present during questioning. Only a qualified attorney can ensure that the suspect or defendant does not say anything damaging. The right to remain silent should always be exercised; three hypothetical examples follow:

--Cop: "Is this your pipe?"
--Joe Citizen: "My attorney advised me to remain silent unless she is present."

--Cop: "If I look in your trunk, I'm not going to find any drugs?"
--Jane Citizen: "I do not consent to a search of my trunk, and I'd rather not answer any questions without an attorney present."

--Cop: [during search of apartment -- with a warrant-- upon discovering and examining a tiny bag of leaves and stems]: "Looks like a couple pounds of good bud here ... too bad. You can do some serious time in the state slammer for this."
--John Citizen: [says nothing at all]

DO NOT STICK AROUND ANY LONGER THAN IS REQUIRED: From the time a law enforcement officer approaches, it is wise to remain calm and not arouse suspicion. Nevertheless, individuals should always find out if the officer requires them to stay; if not, they should explain that they are in a hurry, then leave.

Law enforcement officers are trained to create the impression that their suspects are obliged to stay. Individuals being questioned by an officer should simply say: "Am I under arrest or otherwise detained? If not, I really need to get going. Have a nice day."

DO NOT BE HOSTILE; DO NOT PHYSICALLY RESIST: Some law enforcement officers do not care about citizens' rights; sometimes, the suspect is caught red-handed; other times, there are special-case qualifiers to certain rights, or there are loopholes beyond the scope of discussion in this publication. In any case, there are times when individuals politely assert their rights and refuse to talk or give consent, but the officers disregard their wishes and proceed to detain, search, or arrest them. In such cases, it is important to keep in mind that law enforcement officers have clubs, mace, handcuffs, guns, back-up, and usually the trust of the court. Aggression against the officers can make matters far worse. This does not mean that individuals facing such circumstances should give up all rights. Sometimes it is best to simply say, "Do what you feel you must; I will not physically resist. However, I do not consent to this."

DO NOT BE A SNITCH: The police and prosecutors often try to pressure individuals into providing information that would lead to the arrest and conviction of others. Sometimes a person's own defense attorney will even encourage him or her to comply!

A wise marijuana consumer will avoid the issue entirely by reducing the possibility of apprehension by knowing his or her rights. However, prudent marijuana consumers will keep in mind that the possibility of arrest always exists. They remember the adage: "Don't do the crime if you can't do the time."

Threats and promises by police and prosecutors should be viewed with caution and skepticism. Decisions should only be made after consulting with an attorney and examining one's own conscience. Just remember, saving one's self by pointing the finger at others is the most cowardly thing a person can do. There is no justification for being a traitor in the War Against Marijuana Consumers.