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Buy pot, travel not: The consequences of bringing Colorado marijuana to Nebraska

Buy pot, travel not. That is what Nebraska's government hopes people will remember when they purchase marijuana legally in Colorado. While Colorado has legalized marijuana, surrounding states have not, and it is against federal law to smuggle it across the border.

Nebraska police tell stories of typically law-abiding people who brought marijuana across the border. When caught, they showed their receipts to prove that they purchased it legally, not realizing they were pulled over for transporting it across borders and possessing it illegally in another state, not for purchasing it. Too many of these people find themselves facing the criminal justice system for the first time, even though they never intended to break the law.

In an interview with PBS News Hour, Sheriff Adam Hayward of Deuel County said that the drivers he has arrested for pot range from teenagers to grandmothers, and the confiscated drugs aren't just bags of pot anymore, but also things like gummy bears infused with cannabis.

The potential penalties for bringing marijuana across state borders

The penalties you can face for marijuana possession depend largely on the amount of marijuana in your possession:

  • Less than an ounce: First-time offenders can face up to $300 in fines and be required to take a drug education course. Multiple offenses increase the penalties.
  • One ounce to one pound: This amount carries $500 in fines and up to seven days in Nebraska's jails.
  • More than one pound: People charged with possession of marijuana can face up to $10,000 in fines and five years in prison.
  • Possession of marijuana paraphernalia: This minor crime carries a penalty of $100 for the first conviction and $200-$500 for subsequent possession.

If prosecutors determine that you intended to sell the marijuana, you can face a felony charge that could ruin your life.

Finally, many people caught on or near the border are using marijuana while driving. Driving under the influence of marijuana carries additional penalties such as a minimum of seven days in prison and a $400 fine for a first offense.

If you find yourself in this situation, what should you do?

Call an attorney. While most people are being pulled over for traffic infractions that lead to inspections, some traffic stops and searches are illegal. An attorney may be able to suppress the evidence or reduce the penalties you face.

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Success Stories

  • Defendant was charged with sexual assault of a minor. At the deposition of the alleged victim, our firm got the alleged victim to confess that she made the whole thing up. Charges were dropped against our client.
  • Defendant was charged with possessing a large quantity of marijuana. Following a complete investigation by our firm, the State agreed to dismiss all charges against our client.
  • Defendant was charged with embezzling more than $300,000.00, from a previous employer. At the deposition of the alleged victim, our firm highlighted a number of inconsistencies and questionable statements. The State agreed to dismiss all charges against our client.
  • Defendant was charged with child abuse resulting in death. Following the investigation of our firm, depositions of key witnesses and presentation of our findings to the prosecutor, the State agreed to dismiss the charges against our client.
  • Defendant was charged with carrying a concealed weapon. The matter proceeded to trial and the jury found our client Not Guilty.

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