Drug Checkpoints Ahead

| 6/10/2008 10:53:40 AM

If skanky porta-potties, mud wallows, and $5 bottled water weren’t enough of a deterrent to attending many music festivals, there’s always the possibility that the local sheriff is setting up a “drug checkpoint” on the road to the fest, shifting your focus from My Morning Jacket to My Arrest for Marijuana Possession. Phillip S. Smith writes in Drug War Chronicle about the many techniques that cops use to snare unsuspecting music fans, and what festivalgoers should know about their rights.

The tips range from common sense to counterintuitive. Some highlights:

--Don’t smoke pot in your car, and don’t have any paraphernalia in view.

--Don’t ever consent to a police search of your car. It’s your right to refuse. “It might be couched in terms of a command, but it is a request,” Steven Silverman of the civil liberties group Flex Your Rights tells Smith. Be polite but assertive, the experts advise.

--Drug checkpoints per se are unconstitutional, but some law enforcers skirt or defy the law. They’ll call it a “safety check,” or put up a “Drug Checkpoint Ahead” sign, “then watch who turns off the highway at the next ramp or who throws something out his car window,” says Silverman. “Then they pull them over for littering or failure to signal a lane change or something.” Don’t fall for this trap to “lure the freaked out,” Smith writes.

(Thanks, Alternet.)

6/10/2008 2:45:02 PM

Ahhhhhhh. The police crap again. The Wakarusa Fest in Kansas in 2006 arrested or removed 144 people from the festival over the 4 days. They had check points and the whole nine yards. If you weren't nervous about getting in with something say a tad bit illegal on you, you would have been about ready to pee your pants when you came across the check point. And let me tell you, they checked everything right down to cameras if they wanted! Your only saving grace was if you didn't happen to "look the part." For 15,000 people, I realize that's less than 1 % of people arrested or removed. Not a lot. But it seems kind of two-faced to have the festival and then arrest people for possession. It kind of all seems to go together, don'cha think? This year, they didn't have a check point. I don't know how many got arrested or were asked to leave. My thought is, if you want to have a fest, do it! But expect a percentage of your attendees to have a good time!

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