Police Arrest Edgewater Teen for Pot, Paraphernalia and Cash
Anne Arundel County Police reported that on Tuesday around 12:30 p.m., members of the Southern District’s Tactical Patrol unit ended an investigation into drug activity in the 400 block of Penwood Drive in Edgewater with the arrest of a teen and confiscation of drugs, paraphernalia and cash.
Penwood Drive is the townhouse neighborhood off 214, directly across from the South River High School/Central Middle complex.
Arrested at the scene was Michael Henry Wolf, 18, of the residence. He was charged with possession of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia. Detectives seized approximately 14 grams of marijuana (about half an ounce or $280 street value), the paraphernalia and $153 in cash.
As of Oct. 1, 2012, the penalties for small amounts of marijuana possession have been changed. Maryland law used to penalize any amount of marijuana with a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. The Maryland Legislature passed and Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) signed a new law (went into effect Oct. 1) that reduces the penalty for possession of 10 grams or less to 90 days in jail and a $500 fine. In addition, the legislature changed the law so that defendants that are appealing their convictions can delay serving jail time until all appeals are resolved.
In fact, marijuana was a hot topic for legislators in the 2012 session. After Jan. 1, 2013, marijuana possession will be dealt with by citation rather than arrest and bail. That is because in the aftermath of a Maryland Court of Appeals ruling (DeWolfe v. Richmond), arrestees had a right to appointed counsel at initial court appearances — you know the part of a Miranda warning that goes, “if you can not afford an attorney, one will be provided to you…”.
Sen. Brian Frosh thought that by making certain minor offenses chargeable by citation, that the state could save millions in attorneys fees because the state would not have to provide (and pay for) counsel. It doesn’t do Wolf any good, since he was caught three months before the new law goes into effect. After January, marijuana possession will be dealt with in roughly the same way as a traffic citation.
Also during the 2012 General Assembly session, another marijuana bill sought to shield both people who might use medical marijuana for a legitimate medical purposes along with their caregivers. The bill, SB995/HB15, would have allowed people with medical disabilities to have an affirmative defense for possession of small amounts (less than an ounce). In addition, it shielded caregivers who may procure medical marijuana on behalf of a patient. The law did not pass, but be sure it will return to the legislature in 2013.
A reminder: even with these new bills in the state of Maryland, marijuana remains illegal under federal law. Maryland residents are not immune to prosecution under the FDA’s Controlled Substances Act. It sits under Schedule I substances along with heroin, morphine, mescaline and peyote.