Marijuana prohibition is like a predator, waiting for the weak-minded to slip up in order to pounce and take down another careless toker. As 2013 comes to a close, I will be looking back on some of this year’s victims who didn’t stop to think before doing something stupid. Let their misfortune be a lesson on how not to be a responsible cannabis consumer. Today I’ll cover something called “Steinborn’s Rule.”
NORML Board Member and Washington criminal defense attorney Jeffrey Steinborn coined his eponymous rule that says “Only break one law at a time.” The idea is that if you’re breaking marijuana laws, you should follow the rest of the laws, especially traffic laws, to avoid unwanted attention.
This rule would have helped Richard Seery of Pennsylvania. In January, a cop stopped him for speeding around 3pm, doing 45mph in a 25mph zone. The cop smelled pot and asked Seery about it, at which time Seery refused any searches, invoked his right to remain silent, and asked for his attorney.
Just kidding! Seery gladly turned over a half ounce bag to the cop, perhaps thinking that would satisfy Officer Friendly. Nope, it turns out that just made the cop curious. Soon, a drug dog is there helping to find the 17 pounds Seery had in luggage in the passenger compartment.
Next, the cops got a search warrant for his home and find a secret room with another 14 pounds of weed and about $50,000 in cash. They arrest him for those 14 pounds just as he’s being released on bail for the first 17-pound stash. So, of course, he volunteers to help cops find his third stash of 36 pounds in a storage unit, his other stash of $200,000 in cash, and house he’d set up as a grow site.
And it all took place in East Hempfield Township.
Seery’s not the only one breaking other laws while holding. In Darien, Connecticut, Christopher Tuccinardi got busted driving around his 1997 Oldsmobile without registration and insurance, but with two ounces of weed, a bong, a grinder, a scale and some baggies. Rather than take a big gulp of STFU, Tuccinardi freely admitted to cops that he sells weed to his friends.
But at least neither of these guys was really asking for it, like Kevin Bourque of Eureka, California. Bourque decided to tailgate a marked Humboldt County Sheriff’s car on Highway 101. When the cop pulled into the slow lane, Bourque blazed on by him at 80mph in the 65mph zone. After he’s pulled over, cops find a pound of weed and a sales ledger, and then get the warrant for his home where they find 497 plants and 29 pounds of bud.
Thousands of marijuana arrests every year would never happen if tokers simply obeyed traffic laws and those who are arrested would be better off if they kept their mouths shut. Be proactive against prohibition!