Yellowstone National Park located in Wyoming, known mostly for it's gracious landscapes, intricate rivulets, and Smokey the Bear, has been seeing a steady rise in visitors who are being caught with pot.
According to reports, the increase can be attributed to the rise in legalization of both recreational and medical pot in neighboring states like Colorado, as well as the blatant disregard that many visitors have, who for the most part, don't care, that marijuana is still illegal in some places like National Parks.
Alex Freeburg, a criminal defense lawyer who handles marijuana possession cases at Yellowstone, says that his clients are often taken back when charged for tiny amounts of cannabis.
"I think that it's fair to say that it is the legalization in a couple of states. They know it's illegal but they don't think it's a crime," Freeburg said to ABC News. "There's some sort of disconnect."
Many of the charges have stemmed from traffic stops where out-of-towners, usually Coloradans visiting Wyoming, have been pulled over, and then a ranger smells weed in the car.
"And most people, most of the time, if a ranger says, 'Do you have any marijuana in your car?' they'll say yes," Freeburg stated. "In which case, there's not a lot a criminal defense attorney can do for them."
From 2010 to 2013, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Cheyenne that oversees criminality for the park, prosecuted 52 cases. In 2014 alone, the number grew to 80, which goes to show you that people have been increasingly getting stoned at Yellowstone.
It's important to point out also that these misdemeanor charges come with a $1,000 fine, for being caught with even a trivial amount of cannabis, so make sure you have some extra money in your bank account, before you decide to spark that joint at Yellowstone with Smokey.
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