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You’re guilty until YOU prove innocence!?

In this video, we’ll discuss the difference between CBD and THC and the legal complexities surrounding marijuana use. Is it fair that you have to prove your innocence when charged with a marijuana-related crime?

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Transcript

Speaker 1
00;00;00;01 – 00;00;01;06
Hi, everyone. Imagine a case where you had to prove you were innocent. This is Christina Williams, with Just Criminal Law.
Speaker 2
00;00;09;07 – 00;00;10;15
And I’m David Mann, legal storytelling specialist. Well, that’s sort of the cornerstone of the whole legal system: that you are innocent until proven guilty by someone else. So what kind of case are you talking about?
Speaker 1
00;00;22;01 – 00;00;23;06
Right. I mean, let’s not forget; it’s never the defendant’s job to prove he’s innocent. It’s always the State and all of their resources to prove the person is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. But I read a recent case from last year out of Wyoming and it had to do with marijuana. It was the case of Roman v. State. And I’ll just tell you a little bit about what happened in that case. So, the defendant is found in possession of marijuana and it’s not his first time possessing an illegal controlled substance. He has two prior convictions. Well, typically, you know, he had just a small amount of what was alleged to be marijuana in his pocket. Typically, that would just be a misdemeanor. However, because of his record, the state can enhance it up to a felony; a very serious crime where, you know, you lose your gun right, you lose your right to vote and you can go to the penitentiary. Well, unfortunately for Mr. Roman, he didn’t get a plea bargain where he could keep it as a misdemeanor, or a plea bargain where he wouldn’t have to go to prison and become a felon. The state wasn’t willing to bargain with him, so he had to go to trial. Well, at trial, you know, it was really shocking because the only two witnesses that testified were the officer who said ‘Yeah, I found this green leafy substance that, based on my training and experience, appeared to be marijuana.’ And then the crime lab who tested the substance. And the crime lab said that it was a green leafy substance. It had THC in it and it was consistent with marijuana. And that was all the evidence that the state put forth. And the jury found this person guilty. And Mr. Roman went to the Penitentiary.
Speaker 2
00;02;23;25 – 00;02;25;28
So if I’m understanding this right, they just said it was THC and nothing about an amount or level or concentration? And there is a very distinct concentration level that it has to be to senf him to jail. Why would they not have to prove that?
Speaker 1
00;02;39;24 – 00;02;41;27
Well, in Wyoming, keep in mind that we have made it legal to possess CBD. CBD is a green leafy substance there. It’s a sister plant of marijuana and it contains THC. Now, it’s only illegal to possess THC if the concentration is greater than 0.3%. And in this particular case, as with any other case, the Wyoming Crime Lab can only tell us the concentration of a green leafy substance that has a concentration of 1% or greater. So anybody who has, like, a lot less potent green, leafy substance, less than 1%, the crime lab can’t say anything other than this substance contains THC and it’s also consistent with marijuana, which is an illegal controlled substance. Well that doesn’t seem like enough solid evidence to convict someone.
Speaker 2
00;03;47;00 – 00;03;47;13
Well, especially if they’re going to be facing real jail time for this. So if I’m tracking this right, it sounds kind of like a comparison would be being stopped for a DUI and they just have to prove that you have SOME alcohol in your system, and then you get thrown in jail for that, as opposed to having to show that it is over .08, which is what it is now. But I’m imagining, like, what if they didn’t have to do any of that and it was up to you to prove it was under 0.08. Is that about the right comparison?
Speaker 2
00;04;20;01 – 00;04;20;14
Right. I mean, we’ve been testing blood alcohol levels, you know, for DUIs for decades. And the state can always say, this person was 0.09% BAC. Therefore, they’re guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol because the cutoff is .08 but our lab is not sophisticated enough to tell us whether a green leafy substance with a concentration below the cutoff of 1% is, in fact, illegal THC or legal CBD. And so Mr. Roman appealed on this issue and the Supreme Court said ‘Well, you know, if you want to allege or prove that your green leafy substance is CBD, then you have to prove the concentration and that just doesn’t seem right, especially for someone who maybe can’t afford an attorney who understands this or an expert who can explain it or have it tested at a lab. I mean, it really does shift the burden. And so, you know, I think this particular set of facts need to be relitigated in Wyoming.
Speaker 2
00;05;36;06 – 00;05;37;14
Hmm. Okay. Well, I agree. It does sound like it does need that. If someone, you know, finds himself in this kind of corner and, you know, has the resources to hire an attorney, how can they get ahold of you?
Speaker 1
00;05;52;21 – 00;05;53;10
We’ll include a link in the description where they can call, text, or chat with a member of my team any time, day or night. Here at Just Criminal Law, we know you only get one shot at justice. So make yours count.

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