Recently, I've had a rash of phone calls from people who have been stopped on military bases in San Diego, usually as part of a traffic stop, and then cited for possession of marijuana. Most of these people are qualified patients who forgot that they had medical marijuana in their cars, or drove onto the base by accident.
While usually, people can resolve these cases quickly and simply -- the amounts are small and these are not cases of people trying to sell marijuana on a base -- the initial detention, search, and arrest terrifies them. Uniformed soldiers search people's cars, impound the vehicles in some cases, and sometimes put the driver in a cell for a few hours. Then, people receive a citation and have to appear in federal court.
Though California has had medical marijuana for over fifteen years and made possession of an ounce or less an infraction a few years ago, all marijuana remains illegal under federal law. Though the Department of Justice recently announced that prosecuting state-legal marijuana operations will be a lower priority, the memo stated that keeping marijuana off federal land -- which includes military bases -- is a priority. Thus, military police likely have no plans to stop citing people for bringing marijuana onto bases, even accidently.
Fortunately, the way to avoid detention, arrest, and a trip to federal court for possession of marijuana on a military base is simple: do not bring marijuana onto a military base. If you are going to visit a friend on the base, drop a friend off, attend an event, etc., make double sure that you do not have any marijuana in your car or on your person. You'll save yourself a big headache.
If you forget or get unlucky, and are cited for bringing marijuana onto a military base, call my office for assistance.