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Juneau joint eater likely to dodge felony rap

Craig MedredAlaska Dispatch

The Juneau man who was caught smoking a "marijuana cigarette" in public, and then consuming it when approached by a cop, may not face the felony "concealing evidence" charge originally considered by police.

Juneau's District Attorney David Brower has not yet made a final charging decision, however he doesn't expect to press the felony charge against the 24-year-old pot smoker.

On Tuesday, Brower told the Juneau Empire, "it’s unlikely that we’ll file a (felony) charge based on the information that we have.”

In the State of Alaska a certain amount of marijuana possession is quasi-legal in the privacy of one's own home, but in public it's still illegal, especially if you're smoking a fatty on the corner. The accused at first faced a class 'B' misdemeanor, potentially worth 90 days in jail and a $2,000 fine, for being caught in flagrant possession. But by eating the evidence, he qualified for a "tampering with physical evidence" charge, a class 'C' felony. The 'C' felony is a huge step up from the 'B' misdemeanor, carrying a penalty of up to five years of incarceration and a $50,000 fine.

Though, in the end, eating that toke-twig may not have been such a bad choice for the accused.  According to Brower, in order to prove the felony charge, his office would have to bring in outside experts and invest resources that outstrip the crime.

"The charge would be disproportional to the resources of our office," Brower said. "Our office has more serious charges to deal with."