Wanted: Recipe for Smoked Bass

Oxford County, Maine police received a tip that Nicholas Palmer was growing marijuana on his Otisfield property. According to an article on SunJournal.com police, acting on a tip, sent a certified drug spotter (!?!) in a helicopter over Palmer’s property while Sheriff’s Corporal Chancey Libby drove onto the property to speak to Palmer. Approaching Palmer’s house Libby spotted marijuana plants growing in the yard. He returned with a warrant, searched Palmer’s property, and discovered 52 plants that resulted in a criminal charge against Palmer for cultivating marijuana.

While searching Palmer’s outbuildings police discovered skeletal deer remains and, thinking the deer may have been poached, called in game wardens. The game wardens were more interested in small ponds on Palmer’s property, ponds that contained largemouth bass — illegally-stocked largemouth bass. Illegally-stocked, sexually-active largemouth bass. (They can identify such things. That’s why they’re the game wardens.) They confiscated eight adult fish and charged Palmer with illegally stocking fish in a private pond.

Palmer pled guilty to both charges. On the charge of cultivating marijuana he received a fine of $250, or $4.81/plant. On the charge of illegally stocking fish he received a fine of $1,100, or $137.50 per confiscated fish. The state also revoked his fishing license for five years and eradicated the fish remaining in his ponds. “Palmer’s fish fine and lengthy license revocation were stiff because illegal fish stockings can potentially impact entire watersheds” said a Maine Warden Service spokesman.

There’s at least one unmined joke in this story about a Phish concert. Feel free to dig it out.

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  • jtannhau

    In the book it says that warrants specifically state what is to be searched and seized and where it should be located. Going in these officers should have had a good idea where the marijuana was located. Is there any way that their seizure of the animal bones goes against their warrant? I know regardless of the illegality of the warrant, the illegal goods should still be taken (including the bass) but at the same time he shouldn’t he have the ability to apply for the exclusionary rule because the animal bones/bass were not specifically defined under the warrant?

  • jtran3

    It seems that marijuana-related crimes are just too common these days and the punishment is not as hefty as before. Like student330, I find the difference of both fines ridiculous. So an attack with the fish market is more serious than the continuing presence of marijuana in society? I understand that it’s near impossible to get rid of every marijuana plant in the world, but it should be known to the public and especially the violators that marijuana, without a doubt, kills. In comparison to the outcomes of an attack of the fish market, where there will be less fish in the market for sellers to sell and thus diluting the the market and hurting their incomes, it’s crazy to think a drug is less serious and harmful than a breach in the fish market.

  • Daniel K

    There is not much left to be said about this article but I was curious as to the specifics on these marijuana penalties. While researching, I found that;

    “The severity of the penalty varies on several factors:

    * Quantity – Penalties vary based on the amount of marijuana found in the person’s possession.
    * Selling – Penalties are more severe for those intending to sell.
    * Growing – Penalties are also more severe for those cultivating cannabis.
    * Location – A person arrested for selling marijuana near a school will often face harsher penalties.

    Jail sentences and fines have done little to suppress…”

    I believe that since the jail sentences and fines given for illegal use of marijuana are not doing much, states such as Maine should clearly increase the severity of these punishments. As stated in the website, the punishments do increase in terms of the amount and use (at least they are on the right track in this regard). Maine is obviously tackling the bigger problem at hand, which seems to be the easy way out. So to further what JesseR said, the states need to step it up in this “war on drugs” if they want results.

  • student330

    Frankly, I find it ridiculous that the fine for illegally stocking fish is almost thirty times greater than the fine for growing marijuana. I understand Jeetu’s point, that the penalty for distribution is higher than the penalty for possession, but fifty two plants is no small feat. I think that just the number of plants he was growing shows intent to sell. No one in their right mind would grow that much weed to smoke on his own. Perhaps since Maine is a town that depends heavily on its fishing industry that makes its laws about illegally harboring certain types of fish so severe; not only did he receive a hefty fine, his fishing license was revoked and he had to exterminate all his largemouth bass. From an ethics standpoint, this just shows that the law does not always seem to be perfect or completely fair at times. Outdated laws sometimes need to be revised as time progresses. In accordance with that, I feel that the fish ruling may be a little outdated.

  • Kaiyu Yu

    Beware of the mutant sea bass and their laser cannons!

  • jeetu

    That’s funny because half of the “chronic” in the United States is locally grown while the other half comes through the borders. One would think the consequences are a little bit more severe. With 50 plants, it seems like Palmer was definitely a manufacturer who distributed marijuana. He could easily provide 2-3 wholesalers who would then provide 2-3 individual drug dealers with marijuana to sell. I am curious if they found a scale/large amounts of cash in his house and if they would try to prosecute him for distribution as well as possession. The consequences for distribution are harsher. Growing/creating drugs should have the highest and most severe consequences, because if it weren’t for these people, there would be less people smoking marijuana. But as a result as this petty fine, people might be encouraged to grow their own money-making crops.

  • JesseR

    That’s the penalty for cultivating marijuana – $4.81 per plant?! Goddamn hippies in Maine! The so-called “war on drugs” is clearly making zero ground on the home front if that is the penalty for growing marijuana.