Before we get started talking about what to do if you get pulled over with weed, let’s get one thing very, very clear: we’re NOT lawyers, and we’re definitely not experts on the matter!! (Of course though, judging by our “stonerific” Facebook and Instagram pages, that little distinction likely needed no clarification). Moreover, at no point in this article will we advise you to break the law.
In any regard, the question of “what to do if you get pulled over with weed” is indeed a very good one, and is one that could result in dramatically different “legal outcomes,” depending on how you play your cards and how you choose to conduct yourself to the, ahem, “nice police officer” who’s conducting his or her duty to “serve and protect.”
That’s why in this article, we’ve pulled information from people who ARE lawyers and who ARE legal experts on the matter, in an effort to help you not freak out and make matters entirely worse IF that day ever comes when the boys in blue stop you with a nice big stash in your glovebox. So read on, and make sure you’re taking quality mental notes for possible future reference…
“Tidbit of Advice” #1: Be Nice … And Try to BE YOURSELF When Talking to the Officer!
This is usually much easier said than done (and it should probably go without saying), but rule #1 is simply to be respectful to the officer who has pulled you over. Even if they’ve come out of the gates hot as a firecracker and are acting like a complete “you-know-what,” it will do you no good at all to give them the same treatment back. Do what you can to be respectful, use “yes sir” or “yes ma’am” as needed (and without doing it in a sarcastic tone), and abide by their instructions quickly and happily.
Moreover, try and make a conscious effort to simply be yourself if the day comes when you ever get pulled over with weed. It sounds strange to say it, but most cops have plenty of experience and are well-versed in personality reading, and they can tell from a mile away if you’re being yourself or if you’re acting strangely because you’ve got something to hide.
“Tidbit of Advice” #2: Know Your Rights (And Don’t be Afraid to State Them!)
This bit of advice essentially comes down to understanding the Fourth Amendment, and not being afraid to let the officer know you’re familiar with it.
In the even that you’re NOT familiar with it, though, the Fourth Amendment is the constitutional right that protects you from “unreasonable searches and seizures.” In other words, this is the amendment that people are talking about when they talk about “probable cause.”
Probable cause is another beast altogether, and it is indeed oftentimes prone to much subjectivity. However, the general idea is that if an officer does not have “probable cause” to search your person (and/or your entire vehicle) for pot, then he or she doesn’t have the right to just because he or she is a police officer.
But what exactly defines “probable cause?” Well, that’s what we were talking about when we mentioned the certain degree of subjectivity that inherently comes along with this amendment. For instance, a police officer cannot legally search your vehicle for weed just because he pulled you over for speeding. Also, he is CERTAINLY not under jurisdiction to search you based on race or gender. Legitimate probable cause would be something like having a bowl visible or having your eyes be redder than the devils tail. (And yes, unfortunately reeking like marijuana can potentially be “probably cause” to search the vehicle).
In any event if the officer asks if they can search you or the car, and you feel that they do not have probable cause to do so, feel free to say no – although do it respectfully.
“Tidbit of Advice” #3: ALWAYS Have Some Good Eye Drops Handy
This is a SUPER simple trick that could pay off massive dividends if you’re ever pulled over with pot in the car!
Like we just mentioned, probable cause is one of the only real things that gives an officer the right to search you for weed, and/or any other illegal substance for that matter. So if you’ve got ridiculously bloodshot eyes a la Snoop Dogg at the High Times Cannabis Cup, you’re probably S.O.L. in terms of the likelihood that you’ll get searched or not.
However, clearing up red eyes is often as simple as administering a few quality eye drops – just make sure you spend the few extra bucks and get a good name brand like Visine, rather than the cheap generic stuff.
“Tidbit of Advice” #4: Go Easy on the “Cover Up” Smells
This one kind of goes along with the eyedrops tidbit in terms of simple ways to avoid the suspicion of having weed in your car, but guess what? A super pungent Febreze or air freshner smell coming from your driver’s window, is just as much a sign of a stoner than is the actual smell of weed itself. While a single puff of Febreze might do OK in covering up a general cannabis aroma, going crazy with the stuff will do you no good at all – in fact, it’ll likely just increase the suspicion that you’re hiding something you ought not to be hiding.
If ever in doubt, just remember the following hilarious “Most Interesting Man in the World” meme:
“I don’t always smell like Febreze, but when I do, it’s because my weed is too dank…”
“Tidbit of Advice” #5: Swallowing Your Stash MIGHT be a Last-Ditch Option… But It’s Certainly Not Advised
To put it bluntly (no pun intended), swallowing your stash like the kid in Super Troopers is not necessarily a recommended act – even if you’ve seemingly got no other solution.
That being said, however, ingesting raw marijuana in small enough amounts (i.e. a gram or so) has not ever really been known to cause devastating effects. In fact, since THC and other cannabinoids need to be heated (decarboxylated) before they can have any effect on your brain, you probably won’t even get high if you eat a baggy full of pot like a stick of raw broccoli.
Of course, though, this is an absolute last-ditch effort, and is definitely not advisable for larger quantities of weed.
“Tidbit of Advice” #6: Know the Laws in the State That You’re In
This one is a bit tricky as marijuana laws can (and do) differ wildly from state to state, but if you do plan on hitting the road with pot in the car, we highly (again, no pun intended) recommend that you learn the specific legislation of the state’s that you’ll be traveling through.
For instance while it is of course legal in Colorado to possess and smoke pot recreationally (albeit NOT while driving a vehicle), it is 100% illegal in the neighboring state of Kansas, where you can literally still get locked up just for a small possession amount of the green stuff. So do some homework, and learn the laws of the state(s) that you’ll be in, before you hit the road.
[Check out this excellent state-by-state guide on marijuana and CBD legality if you’re unsure of the laws where you live].
“Tidbit of Advice” #7: You Can Always Try and Pull a “Chip”
If you’ve exhausted all of your other options and see no other possible course of action in sight, you can always “pull a Chip” and innocently proclaim to the trooper, “Im sorry officer — I didn’t know I couldn’t do that.”
This of course is a classic line from one of Dave Chappelle’s best stand-up routines ever, where he is describing what his best friend “Chip” used to do to get out of getting arrested when he got pulled over while under the influence. While it may not actually get you off the hook, it just might put a smile on the cop’s face. (That, or it could totally backfire and make him/her infinitely more angry…)
Final Thoughts: What to do If You Get Pulled Over With Weed in the Car
So there you have it – a quick, easy-to-follow (non-legal) guide on what to do if you get pulled over with marijuana in the car. While these little tidbits are certainly no guarantee that you’ll get off scot-free, they’re definitely worth keeping in mind if (hopefully not “when”..) that nerve-wrecking day ever does come where you’re face to face with an officer of the law while holding the green stuff.
As always, be sure to indulge in cannabis responsibly, and make sure you give stoners across the nation a good name by FOLLOWING THE LAWS!