A Sussex County judge recently ruled that evidence of marijuana can’t be used in the trial of a Sparta NJ man charged with illegal possession of marijuana.
The case began when a 24-year-old stabbing victim drove to the Sparta police station in October 2013. He told the officers that his roommate had stabbed him in the chest. He also gave the officers his home address.
While the victim was transported to a local hospital for medical treatment, police officers went to the residence. The officers reportedly saw the roommate standing near a car with a bag of marijuana in the open trunk. Officers then arrested the victim’s roommate in connection with the stabbing.
The officers subsequently searched the home and allegedly found 74 grams of marijuana, as well as assorted drug paraphernalia. According to police, an officer initially went inside the house to “clear” the scene. A short time later, police officers actually obtained a search warrant.
As a result of what officers reportedly found inside the house, the stabbing victim was later charged with illegal possession of marijuana and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia.
The defendant argued that the charges should be dismissed because he is a medical marijuana patient. The defendant suffers from Crohn’s disease and has a state-issued medical marijuana card. However, prosecutors said that the marijuana police found at the scene was not obtained from a New Jersey-approved marijuana dispensary.
Although the judge did not dismiss the criminal charges, he did rule that the police illegally seized the evidence of marijuana possession because they did not have legal authority to enter the defendant’s home. As a result, the prosecution will not be able to use the evidence at trial.
For more information about this case, check out the NJ.com article entitled “Judge Tosses Out Evidence in Medical Marijuana Patient’s Possession Case.”