don’t bring pot to the courthouse

*The following is a very true story with all names and locations omitted or changed*

How was your day? Was it great? Was it okay? Was it terrible? I promise it could’ve been worse. You could’ve been the woman who accidentally brought pot into the courthouse.

I’m not sure why a courthouse is operating on Election Day. I know it’s not a Presidential election, but I thought election days were sacred or at least a time honored traditional holiday for city/county/state/federal workers. Regardless, the courthouse was operating and I had to go there to get myself out of trouble. Not big trouble. I got in a fender bender so minor the cop made fun of the other guy for even calling the cops. He told me from the start the ticket would be thrown out when I got to court, but I had to show up because that’s just how these things work. Fine. No problem.

So I left work in the middle of a Tuesday to drive to court. When I got there I realized I had no idea where I was going. I chose door number two at the government office complex and promptly spoke with an employee who said “Oh, I have no idea where you go for traffic court.” Helpful. So I headed back to my car to call the court and ask them where I was supposed to go. With 10 minutes left before my court time I learned I was on the wrong side of town. So I raced across town (not too fast… nobody needs to get a ticket on the way to resolving a ticket). I found the right building at 2:59. I found the sign telling me to park in a parking lot around the block at 3:00 on the dot. Awesome. I was late and I still had a block and a half to run-walk in work clothes.

I walked in to find the best reminder I was entering a government building, a metal detector. Right on. Four minutes late and I had to be screened. Cue the cute cop. Officer McShorterThanMe was checking purses. I didn’t catch his real name and I wouldn’t post it here. I won’t even tell you what city/county he worked for. I will tell you that I handed over my purse and made some lame joke about not bringing any weapons into the courthouse. That’s when he looked me in the eye and said “Do you have pot in here?” I froze for a second. “No sir.” “Well I had to ask, because the last lady did.” That’s right. The last woman to go through security before me, AT THE COURTHOUSE, brought marijuana with her. I suddenly felt better about being late. Cute cop and I shared a moment, laughing about how anyone ends up with pot in her purse at a courthouse. Then he handed me my bag and I went in to the courtroom.

Guess who else was in the same courtroom… the lady I will now affectionately refer to as “Pot Lady”. She was there for a traffic ticket, just like me. She was there to have a traffic ticket thrown out by the same officer/judge combo as me. Fantastic! They called her to the stand. She pleaded guilty. The cop told the judge the woman’s insurance was handling the claim. The judge said “I’m throwing your ticket out.” Pot lady started to walk away. The judge stopped her “Ma’am, I’m not done. You know I have to write you a ticket for bringing pot in here.” The woman began scrambling for a story. Something about her friend borrowing her purse, she had no idea it was in there. It definitely wasn’t hers. Something, something, something… I stopped paying attention because I was watching the judge’s face as it contorted from frustration to confusion. Then the moment I was waiting for, the judge turned to the woman typing next to her and said “Do you, as a grown woman, let other grown women borrow your purses? Is that a thing?” I almost lost it. This was my kind of judge. No nonsense. She was almost sarcastic with the woman. There was muffled laughter around the courtroom as the lady tried one more time to convince the judge “I didn’t even smell it in there!” The judge responded with “Ma’am, Marijuana is an illegal substance. This is a courthouse. You brought an illegal substance INTO A COURTHOUSE. I can’t just pretend it didn’t happen.” Honestly, I’m not really sure what happened in the end. The woman had to go talk to a police officer outside of the courtroom. I’m confident she faces some sort of charge and since Officer McShorterThanMe had already shown me the tiny bag of pot while he rifled through my purse, I figure it’s just a misdemeanor. She’ll be alright.

I’ll be alright too. I walked out of the courtroom with no ticket, no fine, no points on my license, and a good story to tell. I was only in the courtroom long enough to take care of my business and learn that a woman should never ever let a friend borrow her purse the night before she goes to court.

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