How to Survive a Marijuana Raid (or Just Having Some Weed on You)
|Sorry, thought we smelled pot|
Partly in response, several of the city's marijuana advocacy groups hosted raid training sessions last week. SF Weekly attended one of these primers for pot purveyors' encounters with cops, and what did we learn? UN Plaza is federal property, nobody wins when there's pot smoke at the bus stop, and the mere smell of smoke can be probable cause.
Oh, and how to sit when someone's pointing an assault rifle at you.
Some other things we learned ....
Carry your medical recommendation at all times:
So you paid good money for that doctor's note, and you suffer from the appropriate ailment which makes you a "seriously ill Californian," according to Proposition 215. Don't leave home without it!
Federal property: Avoid it.
A good place to start is government property, as in, never go there. Ocean Beach might seem like a fine place to light up a spliff, but any park ranger can issue a ticket or haul your stoned ass to jail, because places like that are not San Francisco. It's federal property, and medical marijuana isn't something federal authorities recognize. This goes for the federal building on Golden Gate Avenue as well as the nearby fountain at UN Plaza.
Is smell probable cause?
If San Franciscans called the police every time a waft of burnt cannabis aroused olfactory attention, overworked 911 dispatchers would likely strike. However, scent has proved enough for police to perform searches and judges to sign warrants, according to defense attorney Derek St. Pierre, whose clients learned this the hard way. Do what you can to avoid drawing attention to yourself. Of course, if your situation involves fans, lights and the 24/7 smell of fresh plants consistent with a grow house, you'll need another line of defense.