Less Than 1 Oz Of Pot Leads To Arrest Of Nearly 70 People

By Victoria Kim 01/04/18

When none of the house party guests would claim the paltry amount of pot, the police proceeded to round up dozens of people between the ages of 15 and 31.

a few of the young people who were reportedly arrested without cause at the party.
A few of the young people who were reportedly arrested without cause at the party. Photo via WSB TV

The Georgia NAACP is investigating the arrests of nearly 70 young people celebrating a friend’s birthday Saturday night—which police say were justified based on the discovery of less than one ounce of cannabis and two firearms.

According to reports, the police responded to a 911 call around 2:30 am Sunday morning (Dec. 31) that reported shots fired near the house in Cartersville, Georgia, which Deja Heard had rented to host her 21st birthday party.

According to the police’s account, they entered the house with a search warrant, discovered cannabis, “suspected cocaine,” related paraphernalia, and two firearms. A drug task force was called to the scene, and when none of the party guests would claim the drugs, the police proceeded to round up the dozens of young people between the ages of 15 and 31, and booked them in Bartow County Jail. They have been charged with a single count of possession of less than one ounce of cannabis, according to BuzzFeed News.

According to NORML, possession of one ounce or less of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000, or community service for up to 12 months.

“All of the subjects at the residence were placed under arrest for the possession of the suspected marijuana which was within everyone’s reach or control,” said the Bartow-Cartersville Drug Task Force in a press release.

The narratives of the police and the party guests—seven of whom remain in jail unable to make the $1,000 bond as of Tuesday—differ, Atlanta attorney Gerald A. Griggs noted.

First, Griggs says, contrary to the police’s account, the host Deja Heard was not presented with a search warrant and the police entered the house illegally. And the “shots” heard were actually fireworks set off by neighbors, according to witnesses.

Meanwhile, one BuzzFeed commenter made the observation that during CNN’s New Year’s Eve broadcast the following night, correspondent Randi Kaye reported from a party bus in Denver (a “cannibus”) where she reveled amid a cloud of pot smoke and corny jokes, surrounded by people celebrating the New Year with their (legal) bud of choice. 

“If you watched CNN’s New Year’s Eve program you saw Randi Kaye toking at some party in Denver,” wrote commenter Vladimir Enlow. “Meanwhile, the police in Cartersville will happily enter these ‘dangerous felons’ into the criminal justice system…”

BuzzFeed reports that in addition to the dozens arrested based on the suspicion of the cannabis misdemeanor, four men were “also booked on suspicion of felonies related to other drug possession.”

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr