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Appeal goes ‘Up in Smoke’

On the heels of the ‘Shaggy defense’ comes a drug case out of the Maryland Court of Appeals. Our sister paper, the Daily Record, reports on a recent opinion that peppers in not one, but two, colorful pop culture references.

“Reminiscent of a scene from a Cheech & Chong* movie,” Judge Glenn Harrell begins his majority opinion, police raided a Baltimore residence where occupants were found to be “shrouded in a haze of marijuana smoke.” The appellant, who sat within an arm’s reach of the drugs, but had none on his person, “remained ‘groovy,’” but was arrested nonetheless.

The appeals court upheld his conviction of simple possession of marijuana.

Judge Clayton Greene dissented, biting back with a familiar line from the animated Comedy Central series, Southpark:

“Although, in the immortal words of Mr. Mackey*, ‘[d]rugs are bad,’ the law imposes no legal duty, as opposed to moral duty, to stop others from using drugs, or to run away from people who are using drugs.”

*Those unfamiliar with these characters can refer to the handy footnotes provided on pages 3 and 44 of the opinion.

By Sarah Rodriguez

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