Tennessee Police Stop Elderly Couple For Having Ohio State Decal On Car Because It Looked Like A Marijuana Leaf

SMG503Bonnie Jonas-Boggioni, 65, and her husband were driving home to Plano, Texas, when they were pulled over under suspicion of being drug mules. The elderly couple would not seem to fit a profile for a cartel member, but the Tennessee police felt that they had made a critical mistake in their drug conspiracy. Their car had a picture of a marijuana leaf — apparently a common marking for drug mules. It turned out to be a Buckeye leaf decal. After being detained, the police reportedly told the Ohio State football fans that they needed to be more careful in the future and take off the decal. It appears to be the view of the Tennessee police that a picture of something looking like pot is enough for reasonable suspicion.

The couple was actually returning from Columbus and a funeral when a pair of black police SUV’s stopped them and officers with body armor surrounded the car. With the couple’s two schnauzers barking, Jonas-Boggioni was told to get out of the car. Jonas-Boggioni was immediately asked “What are you doing with a marijuana sticker on your bumper?” After explaining that it was a Ohio State sticker, they were told that they should remove the sticker to avoid further trouble with the police.

The problem however was not a lack of botany training for Tennessee police but a lack of police training. The entire car could be painted celebrating marijuana and showing pictures from Reefer Madness but it would not create a basis for reasonable suspicion. Indeed, it is absurd to believe that a drug courier would advertise in this manner.

The police were reportedly part of a joint drug enforcement effort that day. Many have objected that our anti-drug campaigns have become a type of perpetual enforcement machine that demands greater numbers of stops and roadblocks. This stop is on one level funny but on another level chilling. It shows an arbitrary attitude of police in the “war on drugs” and a complete lack of understanding of basic legal rules and constitutional protections.

Tennessee police must also think that the drug cartels have their own college football team whenever Ohio State plays on national television:

Source: Yahoo

42 thoughts on “Tennessee Police Stop Elderly Couple For Having Ohio State Decal On Car Because It Looked Like A Marijuana Leaf

  1. This took place just east of Memphis on Interstate 40.

    I hope their supervisors give the officers a little sit down counseling and perhaps some more training.

  2. Overpaid LEO’s desperate to justify their employment. The fault was quite obviously with the reckless elderly couple practically demanding to be pulled over and investigated by the team of highly trained, fully motivated law enforcement officers performing their duties in a wholly professional and cost effective manner.

  3. Of course, the greatest fear of legalization is running the risk people, including cops, might actually calm the f*ck down for five minutes. Sleep, not fights, break out among high people. That will be just terrible for the prison industrial complex, dontcha kno. Hard to terrorize people who are in no mood for it.

  4. Isn’t the correct answer to, “What are you doing with a marijuana sticker on your bumper?” a simple, “Utilizing my first amendment right”?

  5. Wow. These officers must have too much time on their hands if they are stopping people for their decals! Maybe this couple was within the 100 miles constitution free zone along the border or shorelines!

  6. Google marijuana leaf and you will see that the Ohio State image looks nothing like a marijuana leaf, except that they’re both green. You would think that LE professionals would know that? Secondly, just how much did this stop cost in monetary terms and to what ends. Is lurking on a highway waiting for “drug mules” really a productive police procedure? Third of course is that the idea of “drug mules identifying themselves with a “code” picture is infantile. The idea is too look as inconspicuous as possible, drive within the speed limit and not get stopped. Finally, as JT clearly states citizens have every right to put decals on their car without being stopped. If one remembers the old Cheech and Chong movies this seems to be a plot-line, with the twist that the police are behaving like the stoners.

  7. I know a lot of Americans are completely ignorant of what goes on outside the US’s borders. But I didn’t know so many were ignorant of what goes on outside their own state’s borders.

  8. Attorney: Officer Hillbilly, on the issue of probable cause to stop my client, will you now explain to the judge your work-related experience and training in the recognition and detection of marijuana?

    Officer Hillbilly: Well, I stopped a couple of old timers running drugs out on HIghway 40 because I noticed their Ohio State Buckeye decal had a marijuana leaf on it.

    Judge: Thank you, Officer. You may stand down. Case dismissed.

  9. This story has gotten some play over at Americablog ( http://americablog.com/2013/02/buckeye-bumper-stick-police-marijuana.html ), where the heavy thinking wonders whether this is an example of Tennesee-cum-Tenessee-state-patrol idiocy and biases, or simply run of the mill could-be-anywhere in the great US of A idiocy and bias.

    Myself, I lean toward both/and . . .

    I will check to be sure, but I think the Constitution is still in effect, though poorly functioning, as of this morning. Anyone got the number for whoever is in charge of boilerplate responses?

  10. I always figured that them Buckeyes was pot heads. When a buck looks you right in the eyes and does not run then you know he is high on something. That is why hunters are not allowed to use floodlights and blind them while they shoot em. If ya shoot em while they are Buckeyed, its cheating. Of course in Tennessee they are allowed to shoot em at night with floodlights.

  11. “Yes, because drug traffickers often put symbols of the drug on their cars. I mean, who wouldn’t!?”

    That’s so they can find their car in the mall parking lot. Dontuknow!

  12. It’s not a Pot leaf… it’s a Buckeye leaf! Climbed so many of those buckeye trees on the St Joseph’s Grade School my knees are still scraped.

  13. I particularly like the assinine parting comment, lecturing the old couple that they best remove the sticker lest they repeatedly be subject to “problems with law enforcement.” Nothing like the arrogant ignorant cops defecating on the fourth amendment and then having the audacity to tell you what to do to avoid us having to do it some more.

  14. There is a lot of concern about activist judges writing new law. I have to say I am much more concerned with activist police officers writing new law and enforcing new law. Police officers seemed to have watched “Judge Dredd” far to many times for society’s good. Can’t you just hear them say: law, I AM THE LAW!

  15. A friend of mine told me of a person who worked for the State Police. He claimed his eyesight was so good, he could distinguish the green color of marijuana from other indigenous plants and crops. They would fly him around, and he would point out various locations where he claimed to see marijuana growing. Voila! Probable cause….get a warrant and search the place.

  16. Their car had a picture of a marijuana leaf — apparently a common marking for drug mules.

    damn Ethel, they’re on to us.

  17. What was the final resolution on the 100 mile constitution-less border zone?
    Could just any LEO do the frisk or was it only the Border Patrol?
    I observe that the Mississippi is a body of water, and a border between the east and the west. (There are obviously no borders to police stupidity.)

    Secondly, with a view that the Tennessee LEO may likely have not heard that Dorner is dead, in which case the couple could have been shot for the bounty money. Be glad for small favors.

    No one commented on tthat this was a joint action (pun?). Joint, like combined, has military meaning and presumably also in the LEO world. So what parties were conjoined and showed that they are A55es?

    Lastly (TG!), I’ve been to Plano. several times to get a deal available nowhere else in the USA. Guess what I was buying?
    Guaranteed nobody will guess right.

    Now gonna lurk for health reasons.

  18. Otteray,

    There are some that just have a nose for crime…..

    It’s always a pleasure to note you are here….

  19. next time i travel through tennessee and see a patch of poison ivy or poison oak i’m calling it in. i hear they’re itchin for a bust.

  20. Juat read the kudzu in the US article in Wikipedia. Fascinating. And all started by the CCC in 18??.
    Bron, Government meddling is not something new. ;-)

    And for the sake of the xenophobics here, I note that it originated in Japan and China.

    Just don’t forget that we also an invasive species, and kill all other indigenous growth. So can we contain ourselves and the damage we cause.?

  21. “In the southeast, the spread of kudzu is especially troublesome because of the high level of biodiversity in this region that is not found in other regions of the United States. Kudzu and other invasive weeds pose a significant threat to the biodiversity in the southeast. They reduce the environment to impoverished “vine barrens”.[15] The fast growth and high competitive ability is achieved through several key features of kudzu that are detailed below.”
    Source Wikipedia.
    I still think that we the USA and its international corporations are good analogies to kudzu.

    Peculiarities: The USA gov spends one-sixth of an aircraft carrier each year to feed the starving. If we would spend the equivalent of the price of a carrier, then we could feed all the undernourished peoples of the world
    Source: Alan Grayson, D rep from FLA. Populist? Which pol isn’t?

  22. Forgot the etiquette here. Sincere thanks, DonS.

    For myself, I consider GMO agriculture as “barren fields” There are FDA and USDA data, studies. etc which proves this to be true. Monoculture however achieved is a waste land after some years of Agent Orange renamed Roundup. Monsanto is the seller and political armtwister.

    Biodieversity is our way to survive.

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    And the way he lives? “Boss” is DYING THERE!
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