Colorado was one of the first states to embrace medical marijuana, but that doesn't mean you can just walk into a hospital with over a pound of pot – yet that's what a man did at a Lakewood emergency room.
On July 12, the Lakewood Police Department Twitter account posted pictures of officers processing a trash bag of marijuana for evidence, along with this line: "We all know marijuana is legal for adults 21+...but you can't take a trash bag full into the hospital. Oops!"
The hospital in question was Swedish Medical Center's Belmar emergency room, according to Lakewood Police Department Public Information Officer Steve Davis, who says the man in question was a transient around fifty years of age.
We all know marijuana is legal for adults 21+...but you can't take a trash bag full into the hospital. Oops! pic.twitter.com/85MUli3O4S— Lakewood Police (@LakewoodPDCO) July 13, 2017
The man came in seeking treatment, Davis says, and the hospital determined that he required overnight observation. "Since they were admitting him, they were obligated to go through his possessions. The hospital staff then found a trash bag full of what they were sure was marijuana," he explains.
After police officers performed a field test and determined the trash bag was indeed full of marijuana, they processed around 1.8 pounds of it for evidence. No decision has been made on whether to charge the man, Davis says. Still, the Twitter public was ready to charge the man with a crime most Coloradans can understand: possession of shitty weed.
eww... that is dirt and oregano— Joe Cox (@SmoothCoxerator) July 13, 2017
It may test positive for thc, but that is not weed.— Mister_budd (@Mister_Budd) July 13, 2017
I wouldn't smoke that if you paid me to. Good Lord that looks awful. Good to get that garbage off the streets.— J.B. Hall (@GrapeApe_HoTS) July 13, 2017
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Police haven't released a report yet and would not share the man's name because the investigation is ongoing. Davis says the man didn't have any other illegal possessions the police were aware of and was cooperative with authorities. Police haven't found any record of where the man was from.
"A lot of people, especially those from outside Colorado, have this misconception that the passage of Amendment 64 makes marijuana legal, period," Davis says. "Even though there's a system that makes marijuana legal, there still are many, many laws and statutes that we have to adhere to."
It's a petty offense or misdemeanor to possess over an ounce of marijuana in Colorado, and possessing over twelve ounces of marijuana flower or three ounces of concentrates is a class 4 felony.
The Swedish Medical Center could not immediately be reached for comment.