Well. as promised, Aric Cramer, attorney at law, Southern Utah’s primarily where I practice, anywhere in Utah, really, and also am licensed in a number of federal jurisdictions, including the United States Supreme Court. I promised you guys I would talk to you some about Utah and marijuana. Marijuana. See, it’s still legal to say it here, but that’s about the extent. You’re not going to get much farther than that. Let’s talk a little bit about what possession is in the minds of law enforcement here in Utah. Possession of marijuana means, by golly, if it’s close enough for you to throw a rock at, you’re in possession. A lot of folks drive through in a car and someone in the front seat has it in their pocket or it’s in the trunk. Guess what? That’s still possession. You can’t go to court and say, “Well, it was on my buddy, Fred. It’s his stuff.” They’re going to say, “No. Guess what? You’re in Utah. Welcome and here’s your citation.”
Constructive possession means, essentially, you’ve got to treat marijuana as if it is uranium-238, and is so radioactive that anybody literally within 50 feet is going to be considered in possession of that marijuana. So if you go to somebody’s house and they’re having a party and someone in the bedroom lights up and did a little puff, puff, pass, cops come knocking at your door, guess what? Everybody gets a citation. It’s going to be a real party then. So understand that in the mind of Utah law enforcement and in the mind of the Utah legislature, it is anywhere around you, marijuana is yours. You are the new winner. Everybody gets a ticket, just like Oprah. Everybody gets a ticket. Look under your chair. Everybody gets a ticket. So be careful if you’re around the…
And you got to be careful whose car you get into. If someone’s in someone’s car… We have folks that catch a ride with their buddy’s buddy and they get stopped and guess what? Everybody gets a ticket. Everybody’s in possession. So now I have folks come driving through all the time because guess what? We are a giant sea of non-marijuana… We’re a little island in a sea of marijuana all around us. This is what I’m trying to say. We have folks coming over from Colorado, coming from Nevada, coming from California, coming from Arizona, coming from a number of states where it’s legal in one form or another. Colorado, it’s legal to have just almost as much as you can push in your pockets.
Medical marijuana is… Well, I don’t even know how to get into it without getting upset. Basically, I understand, and most people outside of Utah understand, there are serious chronic pain injuries, serious medical issues that you have to have, and it’s a godsend for people who are really suffering. And you may have the most valid, you may have a medical card from the Mayo Clinic. It doesn’t matter in Utah. They don’t recognize medical marijuana at all. So if you think, “Well, I’ve got my prescription and I’m just driving through. I’m driving from Colorado down to Vegas or Colorado to California.” You’re going to have to just ship it or just don’t drive through Utah with it. It’s just not legal no matter how legal it is where you pick it up.
Just think of Utah like North Korea without the nukes. You could have some that are perfectly legal in South Korea. You walk across that demilitarized zone. You go into North Korea. Guess what? There’s nothing legal. Utah, there’s nothing legal here. Nothing. So don’t bring it with you. Even if you have your card, you can whip it out and say, “Hey, look, cop, I got my card. Woo. I got my medical card. Free pass. Right?” No, that is the monopoly portion of go to jail. Go directly to jail. Do not pass go. So medical marijuana, I’m going going to cut it here. Every year Utah tries to pass a medical marijuana bill. And guess what? If you’re familiar with Utah at all, the Utah State Capitol is literally three blocks away from Mormon church headquarters, and that is the amount of separation of state and church in Utah, three blocks.
So they got real close to passing it a couple of years ago and then somebody at the church headquarters said, “We’re really not that keen on that medical marijuana stuff.” So guess what? That thing died faster than an ice cube on a St. George Day. It just evaporated. So it’s not ever going to happen here. So despite everybody’s best efforts, Utah has no gambling, never will. Utah has no medical marijuana, never will. Now again, if you’re driving through, be very, very careful. Again, if there’s any way that you just have to have your medical marijuana with you and you have to get somewhere where you kind of have to drive through Utah to get where you’re going, just go around. I mean, I know it’s a pain, but you just got to go around. Either that or make sure you leave it where you left it and just get some when you get where you’re going.
Now, also in driving through, be careful that you haven’t just pulled up to the border, lit up a big old bowl and got a good solid buzz going before you cross it, that demilitarized zone-design curtain into Utah, because here in Utah, there’s a special rule for officers. It’s called the plain sniff doctrine. So what a cop’s going to do, is he’s going to pull you over, and probably right here in St. George, three or four miles over the border for speeding because you got plates from California, you got plates from Nevada, you got plates from Colorado, and they’re going to find a reason to pull you over. And if you did that, “I’m going to smoke the rest of it all up before I go into Utah,” that officer’s going to be, “Oh, those plates, my odds are there’s something in there.” He can, or she can find a reason to pull you over.
Cops are like this nationwide, it really doesn’t matter. They can find a reason to pull you over if they think they want to. You don’t signal for three seconds before you change lanes, boom. Off you go. And the trooper comes up to your car and you roll down the window and he says, “I smell marijuana. Please get out of the car.” If you haven’t taken my advice and there’s some marijuana in the car, the cop’s just going to toss it. He’s going to say, “I’ve got probable cause. I’m searching your car.” Whether you want them to or not, they’re just going to toss the car. And if you have some, they’re going to cite you for it. And again, off to jail you go.
If you did smoke that big old bowl before you came over the border, he’s going to say, “You know what? I smell marijuana on you. I can’t find any in your car, but I know you’ve been smoking,” and you know what? It’s illegal to even have any metabolite in your system. You can’t have any metabolites. Zero. So you get a special gift called a DUI metabolite. So don’t just pull up to the border, smoke it all, and then try to cross. Don’t smoke any at all before you come across the border. Okay? You’re just going to have to time it.
Now let’s talk just for a minute about metabolite. We’ll talk about DUIs later, but I want you to understand metabolite. Anybody who smokes a little bit or is familiar with it, you smoke a little marijuana two or three days ago, you’re not high anymore two or three days later, but there’s still metabolite in your system. There is still… Essentially it’s bong water. There’s the trash in your blood system and it just doesn’t get out of your system for about 30 days. So if you make the mistake of driving through with your out-of-state plates, you get stopped, the cop says, “Well, I think I smell marijuana,” and he tosses your car and you’ve listened to me. You didn’t bring any with you. And he says, “Well, I thought I smelled something but you you haven’t been smoking, have you?” And you say, “Oh no, officer, I know Utah won’t allow me to smoke. The last time I smoked was a week ago.” Guess what? You get a DUI metabolite because if there is any THC, even the nonactive THC, in your blood system, you are DUI in Utah and you will lose your license, driving privileges, in the State of Utah.
Also just a little aside on penalties, and we’ll go into this in a later video. Penalties for possession of marijuana, penalties for any drug possession, have affects on your license. They’re called collateral consequences. If you go to Zion, have a good time, smoke a little joint, get caught. “Okay, you just pay the fine. We’ll let you go.” You pay the fine and they put a possession of marijuana on your record in Utah, a little B misdemeanor, no jail, no anything. You just pay a fine. You think, “Oh, I’m fine.” Well, guess what? Utah driver’s license division will pick that up and they will suspend your Utah driving privilege for six months. Now you may say, “Well, I don’t care. I’m never coming to Utah again. I’ve seen Zion. I’m never coming back.”
Well, yeah, you’re not coming back, but guess what? Your Utah driving privilege gets suspended for six months for every drug conviction. And then they put it on what’s called the interstate compact. And you’ll get a letter from your driver’s license division saying, “You know what? You got your driving privilege suspended in Utah for six months. In full faith and credit of the United States, we’re going to follow our sister state’s advice and we’re suspending your license here for six months.” So be very, very careful. Be very, very careful here. What is normal, legal, and medically approved where you’re at, anything to do with marijuana, is not approved, legal or permitted here in Utah.
So bottom line, if you get in trouble, call me. If I can’t help you or you’re too far away from me to financially help you, I’ll get you to one of my friends who can help you. You can always look me up. I have a website, ariccramer.com. Aric with an A, Cramer with a C. Take a look, send me an email either through Facebook or firstname.lastname@example.org, happy to help. If you want to contribute to a group of attorneys who are trying very hard to protect you, trying very hard to keep these laws under control, feel free to donate to Utah Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, UACDL.org or the National Organization, NACD, National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys, NACD.org. You can go and donate to our 501C6. I think it’s @NACDL. Our 501C3@UACDL. Help train us, help to help us get the legislature to ease up on these laws both nationally and locally.
And we’ll talk about the legislature another day. The legislature, both the state and federal. I have to take a big old legal something to not get too pumped up when I talk about those guys, I get really emotional, but I guess emotion sells… Be like one of those crazy guys on their own podcast that scream and shout at you. So that’s upcoming. Thanks again for tuning in. Please give me a call or an email. Anything that you’d like to hear about, any topics upcoming, we’re going to do this once a week. We talked a little bit about cops last week. We talked a little bit about marijuana this week, and I will take requests for next week or you’ll just have to [inaudible] I want to talk about. Thanks again for joining me. Have a great day. Resist.
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