Uber Helps Police Make Marijuana Arrest in Pennsylvania

Uber Helps Police Make Marijuana Arrest in Pennsylvania

A young man in Pennsylvania allegedly left a bag full of marijuana in the back of an Uber last December. Police say he emailed the car service a few days later asking for the bag to be returned. Instead of getting his weed back, and going on his merry way as planned, he has ended up in jail.

Malik Rasaan Mollett, 21, is being held on $150,000 bail in Westmoreland County Prison after admitting to an undercover police officer that the two pounds of marijuana they had in their possession was indeed his.

Image courtesy of Westmoreland County Jail

Mollett took the ride with Uber on December 29, 2018. The unidentified Uber driver contacted police January 2, 2019 after he claims to have taken his first look into the bag that Mollett was asking to have returned. When the driver realized he’d unknowingly been driving around with two pounds of marijuana in his car for three days, he decided to contact the Pennsylvania State Police.

Having been provided Mollett’s phone number by the driver, a state trooper posing as a representative of Uber, called Mollett to set up a time to return the bag. After Mollett texted the officers a photo of the bag to confirm it was his, they agreed to meet in a McDonald’s parking lot in Irwin.

Trooper Steve Limani said that when the undercover officer handed the bag of marijuana back to Mollett, he asked, “How much of it did you smoke?” The trooper assured Mollett that they had not smoked any of it, and walked away from the vehicle. At that time, the other officers moved in to make the arrest. Mollett reportedly changed his story once in custody, claiming the bag was not actually his.

Uber
Image courtesy of Pennsylvania State Police

Mollett now faces up to one year in jail, and may have to pay up to $5,000 in fines.

Religious Leaders in Pennsylvania Demand Legal Medical Marijuana

Religious Leaders in Pennsylvania Demand Legal Medical Marijuana

Several religious leaders gathered this week at the Pennsylvania state capital to show support for the legalization of medical marijuana.

The church leaders have demanded a legislative bill be passed allowing the option for medical marijuana in the treatment of debilitating conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and muscular dystrophy. The clergy members pointed out that refusing cannabis, an effective treatment for several tough-to-treat illnesses, is unjustifiably inhumane.

The religious leaders request that lawmakers adopt sensible and comprehensive medical marijuana legislation to allow those suffering from debilitating conditions to have the option of using cannabis. The clergymen released a statement, which read:

“Across Pennsylvania, there are patients suffering from cancer, multiple sclerosis, ALS, epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic pain, and other debilitating conditions for which medical cannabis has been found to provide significant medical benefits.”

Pennsylvania religious leaders

A bill to legalize medical marijuana passed overwhelmingly at the state Senate in May, but is now awaiting a vote in the House. Leaders from several different religions, across Pennsylvania, are united in showing their support.

A Quinnipiac University poll, released earlier this month found 87 percent of Pennsylvania voters support the legal use of medicinal marijuana, showing the church members that their opinions are backed by the majority of residents in the Keystone State.

“I will speak until this cycle of abuse is ended, I will speak until compassion triumphs over-inactions, and I will speak until the voiceless win and this legislation becomes the law,”

said Rev. Theodore Cockley of Williamsport.

Pennsylvania religious leaders2

Photo credit: ABC27

Philadelphia Decriminalization Goes Into Effect

Philadelphia Decriminalization Goes Into Effect

Two weeks ago Philadelphia’s Mayor Michael Nutter approved legislation to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana. Today that law has officially gone into effect. The possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana will result in a civil fine of just $25. However, if you’re caught using marijuana, civil fines are bumped up to a $100 ticket and up to nine hours of community service.

“Under this policy, police officers will be able to remain focused on more serious offenses,” said City Councilman Jim Kenney who sponsored the bill. “Many young people will be spared the life-altering consequences of a criminal record, such as limited job prospects, inability to obtain student loans or even join the armed services.”

Philadelphia has now become the largest American city to decriminalize marijuana. Although marijuana remains illegal under state law, the amendment is a whole lot better than Philadelphia’s previous law, which punished any marijuana possession with at least a $200 fine, a drug abuse class and an permanent criminal record.

Decriminalization efforts across the country are gaining traction as it becomes increasingly evident that the drug war is failing our society. In particular, marijuana laws and subsequent enforcement of these laws are racially biased.

The ACLU says that 82% of marijuana possession arrests in Philadelphia are blacks while only about 44% percent of Philadelphians are black. Philadelphia’s efforts to eliminate racial disparities through the decriminalization of marijuana should serve as a template to other cities across America. Take a look at the graph below for some of the other American cities that are still incredibly biased in their enforcement of marijuana laws.

racial-disparity-marijuana

Photo Source: Politico.com

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