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What happens if the police officer gives you marijuana?

Minneapolis has yet to pass laws that legalize marijuana. Even putting the controlled substance into one's hands could leave an individual on the wrong end of law enforcement and facing possession charges. In undercover situations, an officer may act as one end of a drug transaction in order to catch a suspect in the act.

In undercover situations, the suspect is completely unaware of the police status of the other individual in the situation. What happens if the officer is in uniform and says it is more than okay for the resident to accept the marijuana being offered? Occupy Minnesota protestors recently claimed that this is exactly what happened to them early last year.

Individuals with Occupy Minnesota said that this past year they had been on the front steps of Peavey Plaza when officers approached them and offered them pot. Not only was it allegedly offered, but the protestors claim that they were then allowed to smoke it. 

The situation was brought to the attention of federal officials after a video appeared on YouTube. The video shows some circumstancial evidence of the claims. One shot showed an individual getting into a squad car voluntarily.

Another individual alerted the police that "there are officers that are giving people marijuana to smoke." When accused of the inaccuracy of the statement, the individual said they knew it was true because they had participated. 

Officers claim that the actions were part of a Drug Recognition Evaluation program. The officers claim that it was voluntary, while other question how voluntary the situation could have been when asked by someone carrying a gun. 

The situation has led to a federal lawsuit that currently remains pending. A major issue in the lawsuit was over where officers sought participants -- at a public protest, removing them from the area. 

This is a very unusual situation, and it is unclear whether the actions of the officers led to any drug charges for the individual citizens. What is a common situation is an undercover drug buy, which most often results in charges. When any drug situation involves law enforcement, representation should be sought to ensure that citizen rights are being protected. 

Source: 5 Eyewitness News, "Lawsuit: Officers Gave Protesters Marijuana as 'Experiment,'" Mark Albert, July 23, 2013

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