Registered Cannabis Patient Cited for Possession While Hiking on Federal Land

Arizona medical cannabis patient Nathan Freddy was charged with possession after a Bureau of Land Management ranger smelled cannabis in his pack while he was hiking on federal land.

Full story after the jump.

An Arizona medical cannabis patient has been charged under federal law with cannabis possession following a stop and search by a Bureau of Land Management ranger, Phoenix New Times reports. Nathan Freddy said he was stopped while hiking near a canyon in Winkleman by the officer who was investigating unauthorized vehicles at the trailhead. 

Freddy told the New Times that during the conversation with the officer he had opened his backpack to retrieve something and the officer said he smelled cannabis. Freddy admitted to possessing a pipe but the officer searched the bag and found a bag of cannabis, a grinder, and a vape pen. The officer cited Freddy for cannabis possession under federal law.  

During his first court appearance, Freddy said prosecutors offered to drop the charge if he paid half of the associated fine; however, Freddy refused on principle. Freddy said he brought the contraband onto federal land because he felt it was safer to bring it with him than leave it at his campsite or vehicle.  

“I would like to be tried in front of my peers and see what they think. … I don’t think it’s right to deal with two sets of rules.” — Freddy to the New Times 

Marc Victor, a local attorney and drug legalization advocate, told the New Times that while he doesn’t like Freddy’s chances in a jury trial, he said he might have some room to argue the case because the cannabis was obtained legally under state law.  

Arizona voters will decide whether to legalize cannabis for recreational use in November. In 2016, voters rejected the reforms 52-48 percent.  

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