District Judge Jeffrey Funke warned a California man with documentation for medical marijuana not to use the substance even after he returns home or risk revocation for his probation on a Nebraska possession charge.
Joshua Nordstrum, 26, was sentenced to 24 months probation after the Nebraska State Patrol stopped a rented car he was driving on Highway 75 and discovered nearly a pound of marijuana, hash and hash oil inside. He later entered a guilty plea to attempted distribution of marijuana.
At sentencing, Public Defender Michael Ziskey noted that Nordstrum had spent 98 days in county jail and is willing to seek treatment for a marijuana addiction while on probation.
At his arrest, Nordstrum presented officers with a medical marijuana card issued in California.
Judge Funke said Nordstrum has been using marijuana since he was 14 and appears to have tried any type of drug that became available to him. He said the medical marijuana card appears linked to some sort of kidney ailment.
“He had been self-medicating with marijuana to address other issues,” Ziskey said.
Judge Funke said he was not stating his opinion about the California medical marijuana law, but said it does not appear helpful to subscribe marijuana to someone who is already addicted to marijuana.
He said while considering a sentence for Nordstrum, he asked what will happen when he returns to California to serve a probation sentence.
“California says you can, but Nebraska says you can't use it,” Funke said.
He said Nordstrum has been clean after three months in jail and has reported feeling better.
He encouraged Nordstrum to make a life change and said it's been the experience of Nebraska courts that it can happen if he will make a commitment not to use marijuana.
He compared it to alcohol. “Alcohol is legal here, but if it's a problem you have to stop,” he said.
He warned that part of Nordstrum's probation requires him to voluntarily waive extradition from California back to Nebraska and said Nordstrum will be brought back to the state if found to be in violation of his probation.
He said Nordstrum would then face a prison sentence on the drug charge.
He said, “It will be five years, do you understand?”
“You are not to possess marijuana even if you have a medical permission to do so,” he said.
After stopping the car Aug. 7, the state trooper said he and two passengers reported they were on their way to a concert in Illinois.
The state trooper said when he pulled the car over, the occupants rolled down every window and each lit up a cigarette.
Page 2 of 2 - He said he brought Nordstrum back to his police cruiser to issue the warning ticket.
The trooper reported that he observed “Nordstrum to be visibly shaking and noticed his carotid artery “to be beating extremely fast.”
When they returned to the rented car, the trooper asked if there was marijuana inside. He said both passengers denied it, but Nordstrum produced a Baggy of hash from his front pocket. At that time, the trooper asked for assistance to search the vehicle.
He reported that in the middle console, he found two glass pipes with residue. In the trunk, were two bags with high grade marijuana and hash, along with a small vile of hash oil. He said the marijuana weighed nearly a pound.
Nordstrum claimed ownership of all the contents of the car, which was released with the two passengers.