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Bay Area Criminal Defense Blog

Medical Marijuana Patients Beware of Crossing State Lines

Posted by Lynn Gorelick | Jan 12, 2017 | 0 Comments

California was the first state in the country to allow marijuana to be used for medical purposes. Since then over half of all states and the District of Columbia have joined California in legalizing medical marijuana. However, some states remain staunchly opposed to decriminalizing the substance. A California grandfather was arrested in Texas after law enforcement found his medically prescribed edibles in the trunk of his car.

Phillip Blanton, 67, was driving from Newman, California to Houston, Texas, to visit his seriously ill granddaughter. His granddaughter was suffering from Stage 4 Hodgkin's Lymphoma, and had complained of the nausea, vomiting, and pain associated with severe chemotherpy treatment. Blanton, who is also a medical marijuana patient, wanted to help his grandaughter with some medicinal marijuana to alleviate her symptoms.

Blanton has been a medical marijuana patient for more than 10 years, which he uses to treat the side effects of a triple bypass surgery, and pain associated with suffering from polio as a child.

When passing through Blanton, Texas on his way to Houston, law enforcement officers stopped Blanton for speeding. Blanton cooperated with the officer, admitting he had a pipe in his vehicle. When officers searched the car, they also found four ounces of marijuana and a number of edible pot cookies. Blanton showed the officer his prescription card, but the officer arrested Blanton and placed him in handcuffs.

“I said, ‘What? Are you kidding me?',” said Blanton. “I'm a patient. I'm a grandfather, not a drug dealer. I'm there in handcuffs feeling like a total loser...a second-class citizen.”

Blanton spent a night in jail and was released after posting bail on his $20,000 bond. He now faces two felony drug charges, and could be back in court in the next six months. Blanton has said the incident made him physically sick, and his doctor has advised not to take the trip to visit his ill granddaughter until he gets better.

Blanton used to serve as a minister, helping California inmates with drug and alcohol problems. He now worries that he could end up behind bars himself.

It has been almost 20 years since California first decriminalized medical marijuana with voters approval of Prop 215. In the most recent election, Californians went a step further to join the growing number of states that have also legalized recreational marijuana. However, under federal law, marijuana continues to be considered a Schedule I drug, categorized as having “no currently accepted medical use,” along with other Schedule I drugs such as heroin, LSD, and ecstasy. About 20 states, including Texas, continue to prosecute individuals for posession of marijuana, even if they are using it for medical purposes.

If you are arrested for drug possession, you do not have to end up with a criminal record. You can fight your arrest in court with the law on your side. With more than 30 years of experience defending people facing drug charges in the East Bay, Lynn Gorelick understands how a conviction can affect your future. Contact the East Bay criminal defense attorney who understands that you do not have to plead guilty just because you were arrested.

About the Author

Lynn Gorelick

Lynn Gorelick has been an attorney for 30 years. She is the Attorney Lynn Gorelick is the President of the California DUI Lawyers Association and a Faculty and Sustaining member of the National College of DUI Defense.

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