Police reported that Richard Ellis Spurrier, 67, was giving people marijuana in downtown St. Petersburg. Upon investigation, authorities discovered 45 grams of the narcotic on Spurrier’s person.
Police say that they contacted Spurrier at about 11 p.m. on Saturday night on 2nd St. N. in St. Petersburg because they had been told by a witness that he was handing out marijuana to strangers as they passed by on the street. After approaching Spurrier, police say they noticed a small amount of marijuana shake on the sleeve of his shirt.
According to a Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office booking report, Spurrier has been charged with two crimes. The first, possession of marijuana with intent to sell or distribute, has been charged as a felony because the amount of cannabis confiscated by police exceeds 20 grams. If convicted of the offense, Spurrier could spend up to five years in prison and be subject to a fine of up to $5,000. He was also arrested on a charge of possession of drug paraphernalia, a misdemeanor in the first degree that is punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Florida And Recreational Cannabis
Not everyone is welcoming to the idea of recreational marijuana in Florida. In November, Floridians Against Recreational Marijuana (FARM) announced its intention to prevent marijuana from becoming legal in the Sunshine State.
“Our coalition has come together to defeat this dangerous ballot initiative, which will drive an increase in health care prices, increase costs on businesses and kill jobs and increase the burden on taxpayers that will pay for the costs associated with recreational marijuana,” said FARM campaign manager Brian Swensen in a news release.
Few Years Ago Same Story in California
This isn’t the first time a man has been arrested for giving away pot for free during the holiday season. In 2015, 57-year-old Randy Lange of California’s Monterey Peninsula was taken into custody by police after he entered a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant dressed as Santa Claus and began handing out marijuana wrapped in napkins to the eatery’s patrons, saying that “he was Santa and that he had a gift for them.”
After customers called police, officers found plastic bags containing two pounds of pot on him and placed him under arrest.