When cops in York, Nebraska, found high-grade marijuana in the back of a pickup truck they'd pulled over, the elderly couple transporting it had a pretty merry excuse: They just wanted to make everyone's Christmas a little greener. Or, well, maybe a lot greener, considering police reportedly seized about 60 pounds of marijuana, which the elderly couple, 80-year-old Patrick Jiron and 83-year-old Barbara Jiron, told cops they intended to give as Christmas presents, according to the York News-Times.
Lt. Paul Vrbka with the York sheriff’s department told the York News-Times that police pulled over the couple's Toyota Tacoma because they observed it "driving over the center line and the driver failing to signal." When the police approached, they smelled "the strong odor of raw marijuana" wafting off the couple's pickup truck. So did Dundee, the county's canine unit, who was pulled in to see if there was evidence for a probable cause search, since the marijuana wasn't immediately visible, according to the York News-Times. After Dundee alerted police there may be a controlled substance present, cops found boxes of weed stored in the truck's covered bed, as well as "multiple containers of concentrated THC."
Altogether, the street value of the seized marijuana was reportedly about $336,000, Vrbka told the York News-Times. The couple explained during the stop they were traveling from their hometown of Clearlake Oaks, California, and were planning to end up in Vermont.
A Dec. 22 updated from the York News-Times indicated Patrick was booked into the York County Jail "on charges of possession of marijuana with the intent to deliver and having no drug tax stamp." Both charges are felonies; possession of more than one pound in Nebraska is "punishable by a maximum sentence of [five] years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $10,000," according to NORML. Barbara is the second defendant, and was "cited in the case but was not jailed 'due to some medical issues,'" Vrbka told the York News-Times. No set court date for the Jirons has yet been reported.
According to Vrbka, the couple reported they "didn’t know it was illegal to transport marijuana in Nebraska."
In fact, it's illegal to possess marijuana at all in Nebraska. The state, like many in the U.S., has not decriminalized marijuana for either medical or recreational use. And while the Jirons' home state of California has legalized marijuana for adult recreational use beginning Jan. 1, 2018, the couples' load of "Christmas presents" would still have gotten them into trouble had they been pulled over there. California may be one of the most relaxed states when it comes to marijuana, but under the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, aka Proposition 64, which passed in November 2016, people over 21 are still only allowed to possess up to one ounce of marijuana for recreational use at a time, and only allowed to grow six plants. Those who are qualified for medical marijuana have more leeway, but can still possess just eight ounces of weed at one time.
If you live in a state where recreational marijuana is legal, and you're hoping to gift yourself or your loved ones who love weed with green-themed Christmas presents this year, there are plenty of options that aren't going to garner you a felony charge. You can get enthusiasts everything from a sleek tasting journal, where folks can record experiences with different strains of marijuana, to a veritable plethora of different smoking accessories, to THC-laced edibles from companies like Incredibles, which produces chocolates, gummies, tarts, and mints — though, again, these are not legal in all states.
These options may not be quite as impressive as $336,000 of raw weed, but hey, it's the thought that counts.