Eight Dumb Florida Pot Arrests to Celebrate 4/20
via Wikimedia Commons
With 4/20 coming this weekend, chances are some of your friends are going to be all, "Woo hoo! 4/20, bro! Let's smoke!"
And that's fine, bro. But keep in mind that, while 4/20 is officially pot day, it doesn't mean it's legal to smoke it for one day. As it stands, you can still get busted in Florida for pot on 4/20.
Of course, 4/20 does open the door for discussion. And we don't mean the kind of discussion about how we might all be living in a universe that is just a speck of dirt on some enormous being's fingernail.
We mean, the kind of discussion about how the powers that be need to just relax on marijuana laws and lift the prohibition already.
Lots of people are getting in trouble with the law over pot for some dumb reasons. That means people who really aren't evil, hardened criminals are getting arrested, which means our tax dollars are being wasted on frivolous things.
Here is a list of eight dumb arrests where pot was involved. Some are idiotic, but some are actually pretty serious. And this is just in the past couple of years. So when you toke up on 4/20, think of these people. Also, don't get arrested yourself.
8. Man Who Is Found With Pot in Pants Claims Pants Aren't His Johnny Mccoy, 56, was riding a bike on 44th Street near 28th Avenue in Vero Beach when the officer pulled him over for not having the required safety lights on the bicycle.
The officer asked Mccoy if he had any illegal drugs on him. He said he did not.
The deputy then asked for consent to search him.
Mccoy handed the officer a pack of cigarettes that allegedly had a half-smoked joint inside.
Seeing how the jig was possibly up, Mccoy told the deputy that the pants he was wearing did not belong to him. And seeing how being hauled in for petty theft rather than, say, drug possession might be the way to go, he told the officer he stole the pants. From a church.
Mccoy was arrested on drug charges including possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana (he also had cocaine in the pockets). He was not, however, charged with pants theft.
7. Man Gives Cop Permission to Check His Pot Van, Then Gets Upset When Cop Checks Pot Van
In August 2012, cop patrolling mile marker 78 in Islamorada received a dispatch about a red van driving erratically.
The deputy pulled the van over and smelled the distinct odor of pot. He asked the driver if there were any drugs in the vehicle. The driver said no, as marijuana smoke wafted through the window into the air.
The driver then gave the officer permission to search the vehicle. Inside the van, the officer found a backpack filled with plastic bags of weed, to which the driver reportedly said, "I can't believe you checked. Cops always ask to check, but they never do!"
After belligerently yelling at the officer, the driver asked the deputy to "help him out" and to let him throw the drugs away and let him go.
No dice. The driver was arrested and charged with possession of a felony amount of marijuana and possession of marijuana with intent to deliver.
6. A Man Shows a Cop The Weed He Bought in Attempt to Rat Out Dope Dealer Ok, so, this one is on the guy. But, still.
In October of 2013, Marcus Gollman called 911 after his alleged dealer's mother had yelled at him.
According to an arrest report, when the responding officer questioned Gollman why the woman had yelled at him, Gollman said, "Because I had bought dope from her daughter, and now I'm gonna turn her in to the police."
Gollman then invited the police officer to his home to see the dope he had bought from the girl.
"Come to my house and I'll give you the dope," he said. "It's in a green plastic bag. It's a little marijuana."
The officer waited outside Gollman's house until he came back out with a bag weed.
"Here's the dope I bought, sir," Gollman said, according to the report.
The stunned deputy then arrested Gollman on the spot.
Gollman was charged with possession of marijuana under 20 grams.
5. Cops Stumble Upon a Grow House While Investigating a Possible Burglary That Had Nothing to Do With the Grow House According to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, a 911 call to report a possible burglary brought authorities to a home in unincorporated West Palm Beach where a grow house was being used in the garage.
Cops say a child who was in the house apparently spotted three men loitering in the home's backyard. One of the men wore a bandanna over his face, while another held a gun.
The three men then began to demand that the kid let them into the house. When he didn't, the man holding the gun pointed it at him.
The child immediately called 911 and reported the incident.
Responding officers immediately noticed a strong smell of weed in the house.
Cops followed the smell into the home's garage, which was not so much being used to park cars but more to grow weed. Lots and lots and lots of weed. Authorities recovered around 75 pounds of pot in the garage. The three men the kid saw were not connected to the grow house.
Turns out, the man growing the weed was renting out the space in the home. He was arrested, while the would-be burglars who threatened a child with a gun were never caught.
4. Man Gets Busted Transporting $356,000 Worth of Pot Because He Can't Drive Michael John Cefola had been driving for days, transporting cargo in his vehicle all the way from California. Maybe it was the lack of sleep, or maybe it was just carelessness. But Cefola couldn't keep his blue Chevy four-door from swerving in and out of the lane on a Gainesville highway.
A police officer noticed this and pulled Cefola over. Turns out, the officer happened to be a member of the Gainesville-Alachua County Drug Task Force.
Also, turns out Cefola was allegedly transporting about 90 pounds of pot worth around $356,000 on the streets.
The officer was patrolling the I-75 corridor in a clearly marked patrol vehicle when he spotted Cefola's car swerving back and forth.
The officer's intent was to pull Cefola over for an infraction after failing to maintain in a single lane while in traffic. But Cefola's suspicious behavior caught the cop's attention. He searched the car, found the pot, and arrested Cefola.
3. Abandoned Pot Boat Washes Ashore in Fort Lauderdale South Florida history is riddled with stores of people abandoning weed at the first sign of cops. From the infamous "square groupers" -- bricks of marijuana authorities find in the ocean that was dumped by smugglers -- to boats being found with tons of weed but no people on board.
In September of 2013, one such was boat washed ashore on a Ft. Lauderdale beach.
According to Fort Lauderdale Police, cops found several packages of weed the size of text books on board. However, there were no people on the boat.
No one was ever apprehended.
.... And then there's the more serious side to pot being illegal.
2. Mother Who Wants Medical Marijuana for Her Child Gets Harassed by Child Services While there were no arrests involved in this story, it's still a pretty insane one.
Renee Petro, a mother of two, was abruptly visited by Florida Child Protective Services in March on an anonymous tip that she had been administering marijuana to her 12-year-old son, Branden, who suffers from a rare form of epilepsy. Turns out, Petro was not, in fact, administering any marijuana to Branden. She has, however, been an outspoken advocate for medical marijuana. The real crime, it would seem, was the intrusion of CPS agents arriving at her home to interrogate her 9-year-old daughter and the nurse who takes care of Branden.
Petro has been a vocal advocate for medical marijuana and has been a part of rallies put together by parents dealing with similar struggles.
The activism might have been a result of the anonymous tipster calling the Department of Children and Families. But during their visit, the agents found no evidence of Petro administering any marijuana to Branden.
Part of the investigation included separating the children from her for questioning, including her 9-year-old daughter.
1. Wheel Chair-Bound Woman's House Gets Raided by Cops Because of Her Medical Weed On February 25, 2013, Florida Cannabis Action Network president, Cathy Jordan, had her home raided by police like a SWAT team crashing into Pablo Escobar's mansion. Cops swarmed Jordan's home after a government employee who wasn't even visiting her spotted some marijuana plants on Jordan's property.
Turns out, Jordan is wheelchair bound and has been battling Lou Gehrig's disease since 1986. She uses marijuana as treatment.
A month later, the State Attorney's Office in Manatee County decided to drop the charges against Cathy's husband, Robert, who owns the home. The case was dropped once it was established that Cathy needs marijuana for medical reasons.
"We've been doing this for 16 years," Robert said at the time. "And, you know, finally it went through the legal system and they're saying we're right all along."
It ended up being a victory for the Jordans, but still. Having an entire police squad treating people's homes like the final scene in Goodfellas for no real reason could be avoided in the future if medical marijuana were made legal.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss New Times Broward-Palm Beach's biggest stories.