The hit on marijuana

Student Legal Services wants you to know the laws governing weed

When it comes to using marijuana, everyone has a sense of what’s legal, but not everyone has the facts.

Student Legal Services wants you to know the laws governing weed

When it comes to using marijuana, everyone has a sense of what’s legal, but not everyone has the facts.

Because no student wants to suffer the inconvenience of sitting in the back of a squad car when they have studying to do, experts gave some helpful tips on search and seizure law relating to marijuana use.

Things to know:

– Avoid waiving your rights by consenting

– Ask if you are free to leave

– Ask for a lawyer before answering questions

– Know that an officer can never be talked out of what they want to do

– Decide, “Am I willing to deal with the inconvenience of court or deal with the much higher consequences of resisting arrest?”

– Know that rights for search and seizure only apply from the government

– Insist on a warrant

– Understand that smell is considered probable cause for search

Last week, Portland State’s Student Legal Services hosted a conversation with two local legal experts to clarify the haze and confusion surrounding the complicated legalities of medical marijuana use.

Complimentary brownies were served at the event.

Lissa Kaufman, director of SLS and a lawyer for many students at PSU, said the goal of the event was to teach people about marijuana laws.

“So many people have the false perception that medical cards give them a free ride,” Kaufman said. “It is a common misperception, and there are consequences.”

The experts were Paul Loney and Kenneth Lerner, both defense attorneys with extensive backgrounds representing marijuana-related cases.

Loney is responsible for developing the legal blueprint for the first high-profile American cannabis cafe, and defends numerous medical marijuana businesses throughout Oregon. Lerner served as an assistant defender and as a federal public defender in Oregon from 1981 to 1990, and is listed in Best Lawyers In America.

Students with medical marijuana cards need to be aware of the consequences of using marijuana outside of the program’s rules, the speakers said. Students risk losing federal loans, getting their driver’s licenses
revoked for possession (even if it’s less than an ounce) and being subject to discrimination by employers.

If the person does not have an authorized medical card, consequences are far worse and contingent upon a variety of factors.

While a medical card legally ensures one’s ability to smoke marijuana and grow a specific number plants in private, it is illegal, according to state law and federal law, to medicate in public or drive under the influence. If guilty of these offenses, students are subject to up to two years of federal student aid ineligibility. Furthermore, state aid can be denied as well.

“The most important things people must keep in mind is following the code of conduct with the medical card. Public use is the biggest problem. Most students smoke in public and end up getting nailed for it,” Loney said.

In Oregon, with a medical card, 18 mature marijuana plants can be grown under the stipulation that it is in private.

However, campus housing dwellers be warned: The campus housing agreement contract follows federal law, which does not recognize medical marijuana use as a legitimate right.