MMJ cardholders posting extra pot for 'donations' online
One of the dozens of ads on Craigslist.
PHOENIX (CBS5) -
If you search for medical marijuana or MMJ on the Phoenix Craigslist website, dozens of ads offering extra pot for "donations" pull up.
CBS 5 News reached out to one of the cardholders on Craigslist, who agreed to speak on camera.
"We found you on Craigslist selling a little bit of the extra product you have," said CBS 5 reporter Greg Argos to Andre, a cardholder who only wanted to share his first name.
"Donating. Donating," Andre responded.
It's an important distinction since the Maricopa County Attorney's Office says it's illegal to exchange pot for cash under current state drug law. That is why most of the ads on Craigslist, including Andre's, are only asking for donations.
"People were giving away and donating on there and I thought maybe I could help some people out because a lot of people out here do have (extra marijuana) and there are not many outlets," Andre said.
According to Arizona's Medical Marijuana Act, two valid cardholders are allowed to exchange a certain amount of medical marijuana.
"Before I even talk to anyone, I ask if they have their card, and if they say 'No,' I immediately say, 'I can't talk to you without your card,'" Andre explained.
However, when money is also swapped, even if it's in the form of a donation, in the eyes of the law, that is considered a drug deal.
That's what happened in Joshua Hulse's case. He's a 35-year-old Phoenician who was arrested earlier this month after meeting with undercover officers who paid him for some of his extra pot. Hulse posted an ad on Craigslist.
"That's funny because I don't see why it is. Where in the law does it say it's illegal?" said Andre, when learning of the arrest.
In fact, Arizona's Medical Marijuana Act does not explicitly state it is illegal to swap extra pot for donations, but other state drug laws do. Jerry Cobb, a spokesperson for the Maricopa County Attorney's Office said some are using the MMJ Act as a cover to sell pot. Cobb released the following statement:
"While we don't keep hard statistics, our office has seen a steady stream of cases involving defendants employing a variety of creative schemes to facilitate illegal drug sales under the guise of Arizona's Medical Marijuana Act."
Andre said he'll continue to post ads on Craigslist, since he believes what he is doing is not against the act.
"Right now, I think I'm legal," he explained.
"And if they're saying that I'm not and I find out I'm not legal doing what I'm doing, of course I'm going to stop because I don't want to abuse the privilege that I have," he continued.
Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.
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