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Traveling weed salesman cannot be arrested for good posture, judge rules

A North Dakota deputy confiscated the wares of a traveling St. Paul weed salesman.

A North Dakota deputy confiscated the wares of a traveling St. Paul weed salesman. Stutsman County Sheriff's Office

Nhia Lee and Bee Thor were driving through North Dakota in January with 476 pounds of weed. This is a good thing.

As you will soon learn from today’s tale, North Dakota could really use some weed. Four-hundred and seventy-six pounds is a good start.

Our saga begins on I-94 near Jamestown when Stutsman County Deputy Matt Thom’s misgivings were aroused. Lee, of the People’s City of St. Paul, and Thor, of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, were traveling 2 miles below the 75 mph limit.

Lawman Thom, who clearly does not smoke enough weed, also noticed that Lee was sitting “too rigidly,” had a “suspiciously” tight grip on the steering wheel, and did not turn to look as the deputy drove past. Thom followed the pair for 12 miles before pulling them over.

An inspection of the car revealed their illicit cargo. Though weed is now legal in decent states, North Dakota is not among them. The traveling merchants were arrested for possession and paraphernalia.

Yet our adventure took a turn last Friday during an evidentiary hearing. Judge Jay Schmitz ruled that Lee’s exemplary posture, firm grip, and unwillingness to plant Thom with an adoring gaze did not constitute probable cause to pull him over.

In fact, Schmitz called the prosecution’s argument “absurd” and Thom’s testimony "too inconsistent and contrived to be credible." The evidence he bogarted during the stop could not be used at trial.

Stutsman County State's Attorney Fritz Fremgen is unsure if he’ll appeal the ruling. The fate of the weed is unsettled. With any hope, it will used to launch a sphincter reduction program within the sheriff’s department.