Am I screwed?
December 28, 2005 9:03 PM   Subscribe

Someone saw my pot. Am I headed off to jail?

My partner and I just bought a quarter ounce of pot and I was grinding it up at the coffee table. Our food delivery comes and since the coffee table is well out of view from the door, I see no need to cover up what I'm doing. Probably not the smartest thing I've ever done. There's a huge mix up with our delivery order; we got another by mistake. Seems both we and the delivery person realized this at the same time. As my partner was on the phone with the delivery place, there's a knock at our door and it's the delivery person. My partner leaves the door slightly open and returns to the kitchen to get the wrongly delivered order. The delivery person apparently sees this as an invitation to follow my partner and walks into the apartment. I jumped up quickly and I think I may have hidden the pile of ground pot sitting on the table by standing in front of it, but I'm fairly certain I wasn't hiding the somewhat large bong, also sitting on the table. I'm pretty sure both were seen.

Supposing the delivery person called the police and reported the scene, what would happen? Would they even act on this tip? Besides the above mentioned quantity of pot and the bong, we have several pipes, rolling papers and a little rolling device in the apartment. I can't begin to describe how invaded I feel or how paranoid that this invasion might lead to ruining my life. I do no other drugs and am otherwise a very law abiding, stand-up citizen. What's the worst that can happen in this situation? If the police were to come knocking on my door, how should I respond? Do they have a right to enter my apartment without a warrant, or would they just go to the apartment's property owners and ask to be let in? Is there a general time frame in which the police would respond to something like this? In other words, when is it safe to stop worrying about this incident?
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (61 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I worked as a pizza delivery guy when I was 18-19 and I probably saw something like you describe at least 50 times. I would venture to guess that at least a 1/4 of the entire food delivery business is due to potheads with the munchies. I'm sure they're used to seeing stuff around and I doubt anything will be reported.
posted by mathowie at 9:06 PM on December 28, 2005

I'm 99% sure nothing bad will happen. Most food delivery people I've known/know will think it's a funny story to see a bunch of pot in an apartment, and nothing more.

I used to smoke a lot of pot and I will tell you this- while I think it's a good, fun drug and am not trying to moralize - it DOES tend to make the user paranoid. I used to get like this, and most of my pothead friends would get like this as well, at least once in a while. Take a deep breath, relax and don't get too obsessed by this. Most likely everything is okay, and you have nothing to worry about. I'm pretty sure most police departments arent concerned with food delivery persons' calls about marijuana. Good luck and nice dreams.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 9:13 PM on December 28, 2005

Well, keep this in mind... but if you're already worried maybe it's best to get the stuff out of the house for awhile.
posted by rolypolyman at 9:16 PM on December 28, 2005

Quarter-ounce, eh?

Don't worry about it, I doubt anything will happen other than the pizza guy laughing with his coworkers. With a quarter ounce there is no way you were selling, and having been a pizza driver there's about a 50-50 chance that he had more pot than that in his car.
posted by Kickstart70 at 9:22 PM on December 28, 2005

Ok, just had another thought. Put yourself in the delivery persons' shoes. They're trying to get through the night with few or no problems, get some nice tips by speedy delivery, and get home on time. How does involving the police in a drug sting fit into this? Not well. Sounds like a hassle and potentially will interfere with the job they're trying to do; get food to customers on time.

Sure, if you were torturing someone and they saw it, or had plans to bomb a building out on your coffee table they'd be likely to be concerned and call the cops. But pot? Most US citizens don't care that strongly about it, and even most anti-drug types would only be temporarily disgusted.

Again, calm down, have a beer and don't worry too much. I've been in your shoes. Good luck.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 9:23 PM on December 28, 2005

WTF? Why are you even asking this?




Flush it down the toilet. As long as you get rid of the pot as quickly as possible, nothing can happen (except for paraphernalia charges for the bong and such if the cops come by)

I agree with the other posters that probably nothing will happen, but if something does happen, you will not be charged if the police search your place and don't find any weed. You could still be charged with having drug paraphernalia, but that's really not a big deal, and you still have time to dump that stuff.

But flush your weed down the toilet.
posted by delmoi at 9:28 PM on December 28, 2005

I don't use or buy pot, so I don't know how much the pot you have is worth.

But I'm guessing its value is considerably less than the cost of a lawyer to get you off of a possession, much less distribution, charge. and far less than teh cumulative costs of getting convicted.

Since there's a chance the cops could be on the way, I'd say it's cheaper to follow delmoi's advice.
posted by orthogonality at 9:34 PM on December 28, 2005

do no other drugs and am otherwise a very law abiding, stand-up citizen.

Lol, I love how you describe yourself as "law abiding". Does that mean you're too law abiding for a little evidence destruction?. A quarter of an ounce is what, $100? You can buy more weed in a week or so, I would imagine.

And yes, I agree that it's 95-99% likely that you won't get busted, but if you only have to lose $100 in order to get that to 100%, isn't it worth it?

As your pretend internet lawyer, I advice you to dispose of the evidence immediately.
posted by delmoi at 9:34 PM on December 28, 2005

Flush it down the toilet.

Or just smoke the rest of it. Though you may already be a bit high, seeing as how you're paranoid of a freaking pizza delivery guy.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 9:36 PM on December 28, 2005 [3 favorites]

During the 'hey-days' of the Internet bubble Kozmo found that many of their home deliveries were tied to the 'munchies.'

As a matter of fact such was instrumental in the founding of the company.
"Joe and his roommate had a major case of the munchies one night," Adams said, "and thought it would be cool if there was a delivery service for snack food. Yeah, the whole Kozmo concept came from one really bad attack of the munchies."
posted by ericb at 9:37 PM on December 28, 2005

Or just smoke the rest of it. Though you may already be a bit high, seeing as how you're paranoid of a freaking pizza delivery guy.

An 8th a person? Duuuuude. By the way, I totally agree with the other posters that pretty much nothing is going to happen. But why even take the risk? My feeling is, if you feel even the least bit worried you should get rid of it.
posted by delmoi at 9:41 PM on December 28, 2005

It would be really helpful to know what state you're in too. Diffrent states have very diffrent penalties for the amount you're talking about.
posted by delmoi at 9:43 PM on December 28, 2005

IANAL, however I was a pizza delivery gal. Speaking for myself, I swear every single person that ordered pizza to be delivered in Amherst MA was very very stoned. I saw pot everywhere and was occasionally tipped with joints. My anecdotal evidence says don't worry about this at all.
posted by jessamyn at 9:44 PM on December 28, 2005

Even if he calls the fuzz, they don't come running for 1/4 ounce of grass. No way, no how. In reasonable states, even if they catch you red-handed with that quantity, they'll just throw it away and give you a short lecture.
/personal experience
posted by Joseph Gurl at 9:46 PM on December 28, 2005

they can't even deliver the right stuff to the right house ... what gives you the idea that they're going to be able to remember what house had the nervous potheads in it?
posted by pyramid termite at 9:48 PM on December 28, 2005

It's not my life, so take my advice accordingly.

But I have pot head friend, and one's let a cop in his house, who saw pot, and and even a cop did absolutely nothing. He stared right at his loaded pipe and told him to have a safe night (he was there to make sure that an accidental 911 call and hang up were indeed nothing).

The chances of a delivery driver even giving a shit, let alone ratting you out to the cops, is very remote. I'd forget about it. Your business is probably much more valuable to them than whatever twisted sense of civic pride one might get from reporting a victimless misdemeanor.

Do you think cops are itching to knock on your door and write you up for what is a misdemeanor in many areas? Heck no.

Sure, you could throw the stuff away, as delmoi suggests. I'd lay 10000 to 1 or greater odds that all you'd be doing is wasting whatever the price of a quarter is.
posted by teece at 9:49 PM on December 28, 2005

It would be really helpful to know what state you're in too.

If in Colorado, especially Denver, no need to worry.
posted by ericb at 9:52 PM on December 28, 2005

Man, before I saw the more inside, I thought maybe you were the neighbor of the anon poster the other day... As it is, we're continuing the theme for the week of "AskMe's that Could Get You Arrested"... but not here to judge ;-)

So... you have some pot. I think you know how to "dispose" of it. I, of course, can't legally tell you to smoke it. But yeah... you know. Though it'd probably only be a misdemeanor anyway, right? (In California, it (unsurprisingly) is. Michigan, too. Google for others, those two came up first.)

Of course, if your concern is more about the police hassle than an actual crime... the above advice that the pizza guy's cool with it is almost certainly true. Most pizza guys are probably around my age (16-25 range, I'd guess) and I know almost nobody who would narc on somebody with pot. And most of my friends aren't into it at all, and all over the map politically, so it's a relatively neutral sample. At least among people I know, if someone did have a problem, they'd either say it to your face or bemoan the drug culture with their friends. But nobody would call the cops.

YMMV, though... so go ahead and "dispose" of the evidence, claim your bong is a hookah, the papers are for tobacco, and you certainly hope that the officer will continue his helpful vigilance in assuring us a drug-free society.
posted by SuperNova at 9:55 PM on December 28, 2005

If the police were to come knocking on my door, how should I respond?

Legally speaking, don't. Just don't make a sound, don't move towards the door, just stay put--and there will be no probable cause to do anything beyond knocking, as long as nothing is visible from outside the door.

In other words, when is it safe to stop worrying about this incident?

Now. They will not stake out your place for a quarter ounce. Absolute worse-case scenario, the pizza guy walks out to his car and passes a cop. "Hey, they've got some pot in there." And he decides to be a prick and bust you. Beyond that, I can't see a cop lifting a finger, unless you are a public figure or live next door to one.
posted by deadfather at 9:59 PM on December 28, 2005

Don't trash the weed. Be cool. Don't listen to these paranoid fanatics here. I can't believe I'm reading some of these responses on Metafilter. Buncha paranoid little kids.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 9:59 PM on December 28, 2005 [1 favorite]

Deep breaths. Let it go. If that doesn't help, have a buddy hold the pot and paraphernalia for a few weeks. No need to toss it out; just send it away until your fear cools off and you can feel comfortable again. Also, what every other ex-food delivery driver has said - after a very short time on the job, you get used to seeing pot/naked people/porn/whatever, and you very quickly stop caring.
posted by mediareport at 10:00 PM on December 28, 2005

You could still be charged with having drug paraphernalia, but that's really not a big deal...

Actually, depending on location it could be a substantially bigger deal if the cops wanted to be dicks. In many locations an empty bong could technically result in a greater penalty than 100 grams of weed. In any case, I generally agree that I wouldn't get too worried and if you can't avoid the worry then get rid of everything for a while.
posted by well_balanced at 10:02 PM on December 28, 2005

I hope you were alert enough to tip him well. I've been both pizza guy and pot guy; the only reason I could see pizza guy ratting is if he's some wannabe deputy-type (highly unlikely) or if you acted like jerks, totally screwed him on the tip and made him wait. Consider his self-interest... it's NOT ratting on you for some weed the cops may not even care about.

That said, if you're still paranoid, hide the shit. No need to flush it, just find a very good place. Preferably outside your residence: neutral territory.

But personally, I'd relax and enjoy my pizza.
posted by raider at 10:04 PM on December 28, 2005

Clearly you're stoned and paranoid. Nothing will happen. If something does happen though, that would be kinda funny. Seriously though, chill out. If you can't stop freaking out, go spend the night at a friends house. The cops aren't going to be after you cause some pizza dude said you have pot.
posted by panoptican at 10:11 PM on December 28, 2005

Cops don't care about casual pot users. Cops are not concerned by food delivery people's calls about alleged drugs in an apartment.

Cops would be concerned about violence, kids involved, etc.... But really, you people here need to grow up and realize that the police are pretty hard to rile, and could generally care less about folks smoking dope and ordering pizzas. Sheesh.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 10:18 PM on December 28, 2005

I have a friend who was arrested with just an 8th. He was smoking in the dorms though.

I guess I kind of flipped out when I saw the question, but please If he's at all nervous or uncomfortable he should absolutely get rid of the stuff, even if it is just paranoia. Better safe then sorry.
posted by delmoi at 10:44 PM on December 28, 2005

jeff-o-matic: You're simply wrong about cops. Not all cops are the same, and some will absolutly bust you for an 8th. Especialy if you live in a small town it'll probably be the highlight of the cops month.
posted by delmoi at 10:45 PM on December 28, 2005

I have an interesting story about small town cops. A friend of mine, who grew up in Riverside Iowa (birthplace of Captain Kirk) and who's mom was the Mayor was hanging out at a friends house smoking dope. This was a Saturday and they get a knock on the door from the police. They tell them that a friend of theirs and robbed a bank and asked if they could search the house. They told the police No, but the police were insistent. Finally saying "We know you just have weed in the house, it's no big deal, we just want to search for so-and-so".

The cops eventually left, and then came back later, again asking to search the house, and again told they couldn't.

They found out the next day that the guy had fallen asleep in his car and was arrested for public intox.

But yeah, not all cops are these laid-back mellow dudes.
posted by delmoi at 10:50 PM on December 28, 2005

If every food service delivery person that ever saw weed reported it, and if every cop to whom these reports were made investigated and made an arrest for a measly 7 grams, then our jails would probably contain a quarter of the entire adult population of this country.

In other words, chill the hell out.
posted by Rhomboid at 11:16 PM on December 28, 2005

Who's to say the cops are going to believe a pizza delivery guy, even if they *did* call the police? "Oh yeah, I saw some weed, maaan" isnt going to get them to bring out a SWAT team.

My parents are/were cops, so I got to see some interesting sights, like the sheriff's office coffee room (10'x12' or so) filled three feet high with pot seized from an "out in the middle of the woods" grow op...
posted by mrbill at 11:45 PM on December 28, 2005

I haven't smoked since high school, but I think it's safe to say that you've nothing at all to worry about. Indeed, the fact that you're even concerned about it seems a little strange. It's not like you're operating a secret grow house (I was a bit concerned that you might be the lousy tenants from a previous post) or hoarding vials of crack.

Relax. Smoke em' if you got em.
posted by aladfar at 11:54 PM on December 28, 2005

Nobody cares about your quarter-ounce of weed.

First off, every pizza delivery professional I have ever known was a pothead. I don't think I've ever known one that would even consider calling the cops on someone for having weed out. That aside, how many people in this world are THAT anal about pot that they would want to call the cops on someone who was just enjoying it in their own home?

Secondly, even if they did call the cops on you, my guess is that the cops would just laugh their asses off. Do you think that the cops really care if you have a quarter-ounce of weed? It wouldn't even be worth it to them to fill out the paperwork.

Anyone I've ever known who has been busted for weed was doing something at the time to make themselves more vulnerable, such as :
1) Driving a car
2) Toking up in public
3) Having a loud party

This isn't to say that there aren't exceptions. However, I would argue that those exceptions are pretty rare.

I will say this, though - if the paranoia is driving you crazy, you may want to get rid of the weed. Not because you might be busted, but just for your own piece of mind.
posted by Afroblanco at 12:00 AM on December 29, 2005

mrbill: and there's only one thing to do with seized goods... burn them ;)
posted by devilsbrigade at 12:00 AM on December 29, 2005

I second what raider said regarding the tip. I delivered pizza for a living a while back. And for a ten dollar tip, I would have overlooked anything short of a corpse in the living room. I hope you slipped the guy at least four or five bucks.

And yeah, it's a hassle for the delivery guy to report it, answer questions, etc. But on top of that, what about the guy's co-workers? As numerous people have pointed out, the average pizza joint employee consumes his/her fair share of pot. I mean, your delivery driver doesn't want all his co-workers to think he'll narc 'em out at the drop of a hat. And then what about his employers? Even if they personally disaprove of MJ use, I don't think they really want their employees to, as a general rule, rat out their customers. Could make for some very poor customer relations and lead to time and energy spent on things that don't generate profits.
posted by Clay201 at 12:12 AM on December 29, 2005

To make up for delmoi's harshing:




I'm another former pizza delivery girl (unspoken job title, The Stoner's Friend) here to say that if I'd called the cops every time I saw a stray bong or a baggie, it would have been another full-time job. This, when I barely entertained interest in having one.

If there was any etiquette breached here, it's that you didn't offer to share.

(And to reiterate the best advice of the thread: If you're ever in a situation with a service person where you feel embarrassed or paranoid, nothing says "please pretend this never happened" like a nice fat tip.)
posted by melissa may at 12:18 AM on December 29, 2005

C'mon, hippie, what would you have done before you had access to AskMeFi? Do that. Now relax.

I flagged loquacious' comment as fantastic post/comment, good stuff.
posted by geekyguy at 12:33 AM on December 29, 2005

I thought for sure this question was related to this question.
posted by wsg at 12:54 AM on December 29, 2005

I would say that you get rid of the stuff only because you are obviously too paranoid to be smoking weed in the first place.
posted by ClanvidHorse at 1:53 AM on December 29, 2005 [1 favorite]

Do not flush your pot. If you're that worried go stash it somewhere for a few days, but nothing's gonna happen.

"Chill" advice thousanded.
posted by Devils Slide at 1:55 AM on December 29, 2005 [1 favorite]

Especially if you gave him a nice tip.
posted by Devils Slide at 1:57 AM on December 29, 2005

I thought for sure this question was related to this question.

That's the first thing I thought of also, wsg. I was sure that I'd open up the thread and read about some guy paranoid that his building supervisor broke into his condo and noticed their pot-farm operation.
posted by SenshiNeko at 2:10 AM on December 29, 2005

As a teen, I had cops "confiscate" my pot twice w/o taking me in or issuing a ticket. I'm sure they burned it all in the incinerator right away.
posted by Devils Slide at 2:10 AM on December 29, 2005

According to my old hippie friend, the police couldn't care less about that amount of pot.
posted by JanetLand at 5:14 AM on December 29, 2005

Someone I met was at a party once in his early college days. This was in a very urban area in a large city. Someone upstairs was playing drums at 1AM on a weeknight, the neighbors called the cops. Someone was on a bong and heard the doorbell ring. Someone told the girl to make sure it wasn't a cop or crazy person before opening it. The girl was a hard ass and did not heed the advice. Someone was taking a large hit on the bong as a flashlight shown in their face to, "Is there someone playing drums in this house? They need to keep it down." To which this someone was on the brink of a heart attack and the cop smiled and said they didn't want to come back.

Realistically, if you're not selling and you're not driving and you're not toking up in public no one cares. Oh and come on, pizza delivery guy? Your dealer will rat you out before he does.
posted by geoff. at 6:04 AM on December 29, 2005

so, this pot, is it something that makes you paranoid?
and $100 for a quarter ounce, is that typical in the usa?
posted by andrew cooke at 6:43 AM on December 29, 2005

Many years ago I was at a party filled filled with 18 year olds. There was banging on the door and someone opened it to find a cop standing there. He yelled at us to keep it down, looked over at the kid rolling joints on the table and said "what's that? oregano? Keep it down, I don't want to come back." He left and never came back.

Nobody cares about your weed, dude.
posted by bondcliff at 6:57 AM on December 29, 2005

Owning a bong and rolling papers is not illegal as these can be used to smoke tobacco. If I had to guess, no, I don't think the police could act on a call by the delivery person. They could come over and knock on your door, but that's it. If the police do come over (very doubtful) just keep your mouth shut and deny. They will almost certainly ask if they can come in. I can't imagine a cop would go through the bother of getting a warrant for this. When they ask, say no. Give any excuse you like, including, my apartment is messy.
posted by xammerboy at 7:21 AM on December 29, 2005

The Onion - Everyone Involved in Pizza's Preparation, Delivery, Purchase Extremely High

I would say this was more likely the case than some vigilante anti-pot pizza guy.
posted by hominid211 at 7:44 AM on December 29, 2005

If you are purchasing, posessing and using pot, it's a really good idea to know the pot laws in your state and town.
posted by theora55 at 8:37 AM on December 29, 2005

If there was any etiquette breached here, it's that you didn't offer to share.

Truest words in this thread.

I hope you tipped well. You don't want to be known as the house that didn't share and didn't tip.
posted by pieoverdone at 8:42 AM on December 29, 2005

Wouldn't the cops have to have a search warrant to do anything more then knock on your door? Would anybody but the most incompetent judge on the planet grant a search warrant based on the testimony of a pizza delivery guy.

Anyways, chill, hell, I've smoked pot with cops while they were in uniform in my own apartment. now that was fun :-)
posted by Justin Case at 8:52 AM on December 29, 2005

For my missing comment referenced by geekyguy, it now resides over here. It has been deemed to break the AskMe guidelines. Please respect that decision and don't respond to it in this thread or otherwise protest the decision here or in MeTa. Feel free to respond to it over there. Thanks.
posted by loquacious at 9:12 AM on December 29, 2005

You're freaking over nothing, but the fact that you don't know the answer to this is pathetic:

If the police were to come knocking on my door, how should I respond? Do they have a right to enter my apartment without a warrant, or would they just go to the apartment's property owners and ask to be let in?

Get thee to Flex Your Rights and read the section on what do to in your home.
posted by phearlez at 9:23 AM on December 29, 2005

I think spilon needs a shout-out for chanelling President Carter.

Other than that, dude, relax. Hell, here in my corner of California, the most you get for walking down the street with a joint is a ticket.
posted by p7a77 at 9:42 AM on December 29, 2005

No reason to destroy your stash, except in the recommended fashion. Every pizza delivery person I've ever known was a pothead. In fact, if this ever happens again and you feel you need reassurance, offer to smoke the guy up. Chances are he'll appreciate it or maybe even take it in lieu of a tip; also this alleviates your paranoia as he's done something illegal with you. If he rats you out, you can call his employer and report him for using illegal drugs on the job.

Not that that will ever be the situation, just some peace of mind for you. Seriously, I knew a kid once that got caught with two ounces under his seat, each in a seperate baggie, and slips in the back seat. This is now what we call possession with intent to distribute. The cop took the weed, but the only ticket he got was for paraphenalia. Why? Because if the cop who takes your weed doesn't smoke it he'll sell it to one who does.

Marijuana possession is really not that big a deal anymore, they'd rather save the cells for meth producers.
posted by baphomet at 10:05 AM on December 29, 2005

from anonymous:

Thank you all for the replies and words of wisdom! In my state, first offense is a misdemeanor where you're put on probation and it seems the worst that can happen to you is losing your driver's license for 6 months (whether you're driving when caught or not).

Unfortunately, I am this paranoid by nature. My partner? HATES that about me. I will worry about pretty much anything, even if it has only a minimal basis in reality. I wasn't high when I typed up the question. Being high actually seems to mellow out my natural paranoia a bit, which is strange.

The tip was $2.80. I told my partner to give a good tip (partner didn't want to tip at all because of the mix-up) and apparently that's what my partner believes is a good tip. I would have likely tipped more.

I know the police technically cannot enter without a warrant, however I don't know if they would just ask to be let in by apartment management and if so, how much they would root around. I looked over my lease this morning and it states apartment management can enter without notice to inspect or repair the premises, or if there's an emergency or someone's in danger. This doesn't seem to fit any of those circumstances, and I assume if they enter they don't have the right to rifle through my personal belongings.

It's the next day now and yes, I'm still paranoid that someone's going to break into my apartment and search it while I'm at work. And yes, these thoughts are the result of my very nature and nothing else. I'm pretty sure I'll be able to calm down by tomorrow if nothing happens.
posted by jessamyn at 11:00 AM on December 29, 2005

You are so fine.
posted by scarabic at 11:17 AM on December 29, 2005

Here's what you do, anonymous:

Make a giant batch of chili, somewhere on the order of a gallon or more. Put your weed in a small air/water tight container, submerge it in the chili, and keep it in your fridge for the next week.
posted by rocketman at 11:19 AM on December 29, 2005

I'm very happy anonymous got a chance to respond. I'd been wondering about the tip. (Tell your partner not to be such a cheapskate—it's not the delivery guy's fault the order was wrong!)
posted by languagehat at 11:43 AM on December 29, 2005

Correction: I heard from anonymous, who convinced me that it was in fact the delivery guy's fault. I still think pizza delivery guys should be tipped well on principle, but I wanted to set the record straight.
posted by languagehat at 12:30 PM on December 29, 2005

Used to work with a guy who actually worked for the state police full time. He knew but didn't care about anything less than a half ton or so.

They can't get into the apartment without a warrant, and that takes some kind of probable cause. Without that, you can tell them no at the door. In any state. (OK, unless the cop has probable cause, which he doesn't, because he didn't personally see anything.)

I'm thinking, just send it to visit a friend's house for a few days. Along with his drug paraphenalia buddies. The botton line is, most folks just don't get worried about what is obviously any quantity for personal use.
posted by deep_cover at 2:56 PM on December 29, 2005

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