Sunday, January 4, 2015

AP: Yellowstone Sees Increase in Marijuana Charges

Posted By on Sun, Jan 4, 2015 at 1:16 PM

click to enlarge DAVID MONNIAUX, WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • David Monniaux, Wikimedia Commons

In 2010, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Cheyenne, Wyo. prosecuted 21 marijuana cases from Yellowstone, according to an Associated Press report published in this morning's Idaho Falls Post Register. In 2013, that number went up to 52 cases; by the middle of December 2014, it had risen to 80 cases.

Usually, these busts happen when park rangers conduct a traffic stop and smell the drug in the vehicle. The fine for possessing even small quantities of weed on federal land, whether it's recreational or medical, is $1,000.

"[M]ost people, most of the time, if a ranger says, 'Do you have any marijuana in your car?' they'll say yes. In which case, there's not a lot a criminal defense attorney can do for them," Jackson, Wyo. attorney Alex Freeburg told the AP.

Park rangers chalk the increase up to people ignoring the federal law and the growing prevalence of legal pot in other states, like neighboring Colorado.

"They know it's illegal but they don't think it's a crime," Freeburg said. "There's some sort of disconnect."

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