4 Police Tricks to Nab You For Pot and How You Can Beat Them
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According to the ACLU, marijuana arrests account for over half of all drug arrests—and 88% of those charges are for simple possession. Because of decades-old grant programs, local precincts are showered with money from the federal government if they keep their arrest numbers high. Police have a built-in financial incentive to focus their arrests on low-level drug offenders to fatten their statistics, especially because these are some of the easiest arrests to make. This is a major reason why marijuana arrest rates have gone up in recent years, and why they make up the majority of all drug detentions nationally.
If you’re a cannabis aficionado who chooses to indulge in the herb, you're a walking dollar sign to the police. Your arrest can directly lead to more bullets, armor, assault rifles and other toys, and may even be used to justify higher wages. You’re more useful to them imprisoned or cited than free, and they will try their hardest to manipulate you into giving them a reason to take you in. They can even make false threats to trick you into waiving your rights.
What follows are the four most common ways police deceive people into incriminating themselves for marijuana possession. Heed these warnings and remember the advice so you can avoid giving the cops a reason to arrest you.
Although our laws are meant to protect everyone equally, some police treat people differently based on a number of factors, particularly race. The ACLU reported last summer that blacks are almost four times as likely as whites to be arrested for marijuana possession. Other activist groups have found that law enforcement officers kill one black American roughly every 28 hours. Should you choose to invoke any of the rights detailed below, you must do so while remaining hyperaware of how you are perceived by police based on your race and other class-indicative factors, and then proceed with caution. Unfortunately, that's nothing new for people of color.
1. Giving officers “reasonable suspicion” by talking too much. A cop has no right to detain you without reasonable suspicion. “Reasonable suspicion” is a murky standard that isn’t as definitive as hard evidence, but requires more than a hunch, as Flex Your Rights explains:
A combination of particular facts, even if each is individually insignificant, can form the basis of reasonable suspicion. For example, police may have reasonable suspicion to detain someone who fits a description of a criminal suspect, a suspect who drops a suspicious object after seeing police, or a suspect in a high crime area who runs after seeing police.
If a cop simply stops and pummels you with questions, he has no right to force you to stick around and answer. In fact, if you’re carrying a bit of bud on you, your best bet for avoiding trouble is to use your constitutional right to silence. Here’s what I mean.
Let’s say you just bought an eighth of deliciously fresh green shimmering with sticky trichomes. You’re walking to a friend’s house for some communal smoking when suddenly a young police officer stops you to ask some questions—just the standard inquiries: Who are you, where are you going, where are you coming from, etc.
You think, “Shit! I’m screwed! But maybe if I’m really nice, he/she will let me go.”
You decide to blab away in an overly polite tone under the delusion that he/she isn’t aware of your charm offensive. You notice your tactic isn’t working, and out of nervousness you begin stammering and giving inconsistent answers—which are cause for reasonable suspicion. The cop then decides to search you, finding your weed and brandishing it in the open, which gives him/her the right to arrest you for having pot in “public view.” You’re cuffed, shunted off to jail and stuck with a petty possession charge.