Being Prepared in Advance for Successful Law Enforcement Encounters

Any patient or caregiver can become the target of a law enforcement action. Each person who decides to use medical cannabis, or helps a patient to do so, should be prepared to successfully maneuver through these encounters. You might not be able to avoid arrest in each instance, but chances of successfully fighting charges are greatly improved by education and careful planning.

There are many measures you can take before legal problems occur. You should carefully study the Law Enforcement Encounters section of this manual and, if possible, attend an ASA Know Your Rights training, or other similar training in your area, to most effectively learn this detailed information. You should also stay on top of the basics, maintain a current medical marijuana registry ID card, and have a clearly defined patient/caregiver relationship if applicable. Keep your medical marijuana registry ID card in your wallet or purse at all times. You may want to memorize your physician's and lawyer's phone numbers, or write them down to keep with your identification.

It is very important to inform the people in your life, such as family, friends, and roommates, about your medical use of cannabis. They should be prepared to assist if you are harassed or arrested. They should also be educated about their legal rights (see the "know your rights" information), as they may be questioned in an investigation about your cannabis use. Also, be aware of how to get out of jail if you are arrested. You may want to make a plan for bail, bond, or being released from jail on your own recognizance. You may want to protect and organize your personal belongings and financial data and make a plan for emergency child, pet, and plant care. Lastly, always stay alert for signs of surveillance and be aware of potential conflicts with the neighbors to avert problems early.