NORML Freedom Card: Self-Preservation Still Needed During Marijuana Prohibition

  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director June 6, 2010

    Supreme Court: Suspects must say they want to be silent
    June 1, 2010


    The Supreme Court says suspects must explicitly tell police they want to be silent to invoke their Miranda protection during interrogations.

    A right to remain silent and a right to a lawyer are the first of the Miranda rights warnings, which police recite to suspects during arrests and interrogations. But the justices said Tuesday suspects must tell police they are going to remain silent to stop an interrogation, just as they must tell police that they want a lawyer.

    The ruling comes in a case where a suspect remained mostly silent for a three-hour police interrogation before implicating himself in a murder. He appealed his conviction, saying that he invoked his Miranda right to remain silent by remaining silent.

    For more information about the case, read the New York Times reportage.

    In the wake of this week’s SCOTUS ruling, NORML recommends all cannabis consumers download and possess NORML’s ‘Freedom Card’ to present to law enforcement during any interaction where police may seek a criminal charge.

    Forewarned is forearmed: In the face of a Supreme Court decision that appears to favor the government over citizens, citizens must assert their constitutional rights to maximize legal protections against the government.

    Keith Stroup, Esq.
    NORML Legal Counsel

    Partial text of the card
    The U.S. Constitution prohibits the government from interfering with your right to remain silent, to consult with an attorney, and to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures by law enforcement. However, it is up to you to assert these rights. This NORML Foundation Freedom Card will help you do so effectively.

    If you are confronted by a police officer, remain calm. Be courteous and provide your identification. Politely refuse to answer any further questions. Ask to talk to an attorney. Do not consent to any search of your person, your property, your residence or your vehicle. Tell the officer you would like to give him or her this card, which is a statement of the constitutional rights you wish to invoke. Do not reach for this card until you have obtained the officer’s permission to do so.

    If the officer fails to honor your rights, remain calm and polite, ask for the officer’s identifying information and ask him or her to note your objection in the report. Do not attempt to physically resist an unlawful arrest, search or seizure. If necessary, you may point out the violations to a judge at a later time.

    1600 K Street, NW, Suite 501
    Washington, DC  20006-2832
    www.norml.org / 202-483-5500

    49 responses to “NORML Freedom Card: Self-Preservation Still Needed During Marijuana Prohibition”

    1. propot says:

      thank you, good to know

    2. Duane Perry says:

      Your gonna get people killed trying to do this in certain states..there very crooked cops that would use this for the right to shoot people.Its worth a try in cali,nyc,maybe nj..but its still risky.

      [Editor’s note: Citizens are not killed by police for asserting their constitutional rights…even in New Jersey.]

    3. HeirloomerBoomer says:

      Mr.Stroup is correct.
      Do not EVER resist a police officer.
      Play along with whatever they put in front of you.
      You can get things squared away later.
      Cops are looking, some fairly begging for you
      to diss their authority and resist…

    4. I have spent the better part of 20 years as an avid smoker, and without Norml, I don’t believe that I would be aware of my rights. When we attend school as a child, we are never told about these rights, and our own government demands that we study and commit to memory so many laws that it is near impossible. Most lawyers and police officers spend a lifetime learning and studying the federal and local laws, but the “average joe” doesn’t have the time to spend. We have jobs and families that take up most of our time, so I’d like to thank Allen St. Pierre and Paul Armentano. Without the tireless and dogged support for education and reform of our citizens, most of us would never have the opportunity to learn about marijuana. I thought at one point in my life that simply “stickin it to the man” and burnin whenever I can would be enough. I now know that it is not. For the past year and a half I have been writing to my elected officials in Florida and abroad. I have utilized your “contact your elected officials” forms, and I think what you guys have accomplished so far is worth more than I can say. Thank You. Without people like you, our sick and dying would be needlessly suffering. Without you, more than half of our nation would still believe the government’s propaganda. Without you, thousands more possession arrests per year would go unnoticed. I have never donated to any cause besides being an organ donor, but I will donate to NORML this year, and every year thereafter. We owe you our freedom, and our happiness. Thank You.

    5. Williamarcher says:

      I pick up one of these cards at Marley Fest in Austin. It is awesome!! I have not yet had the opportunity to use it (thank god). My favorite line on the whole card is “if I am not presently under arrest, or under investigatory detention please allow me to leave”, I giggle every time I read it.

    6. jake says:

      ive been pulled over in a vehicle for speeding when we were on our way back from picking up some green i refused the search they gave me a speeding ticket and left its possible but not always because they can bring in the dogs for any reason now in the state of Illinois and if they “suspect” anything they have a right to search..as of last January

    7. Brandon Perera says:

      Verry impressive information!! But I still don’t understand why there is so much work to want to relax your mind. People don’t like to be joked around my stoners or wat?

    8. General Jake says:

      I think its really cool this card. Many are not aware how to properly exercise their rights as an American and since most of us are to lazy to research it you guys takin out the crayons and in the simplest terms advise us how act around the souless pigs.. o my fault law enforcement is handy.

    9. Rex says:

      This card was very helpful for me. I got one when I got my first dr’s note/ prescription here in CA. n the wall there was a large ersion of it, and small cards for your wallet. After recieving permission, I gave officer both papers and he looked at them, looked at my cannabis, and handed all back to me and told me to have a nice day. You could tell he was upset, but he knew there was nothing to get me for.

    10. Lottie says:

      I think it’s a good deal…I will Invoke my Miranda rights IMMEDIATLY upon any kind of “you’re under arrest” BS…Just let the cops know you ARE AWARE OF your rights because if you dont they just think we’re all dumb.