Cops in Round Rock, Texas have used a legal loophole to charge Jacob Lavoro, 19, with possession and distribution of 660 grams of hash over a tin of pot brownies. The felony charges carry a penalty of five years to life in prison - and all because Lavoro used hash oil instead of raw cannabis in his recipe.
According to Texas law, possession of even one gram of hash is considered to be much, much worse than possession of actual herb. Whereas you can have up to two ounces of herb in Texas and face misdemeanor charges and 180 days in jail, a single gram of hash is a felony with up to two years in the slammer. And in Lovoro's case, cops are charging with possession and distributing more than 400 grams - even though he didn't have more than a few grams of hash oil to begin with.
See, cops managed to do that by using a horrible loophole that allows them to weigh the brownies - eggs, mix, milk and all - as part of the weight of the hash. It's a horrible ordeal that could cost a young man the rest of his life in jail over a substance that is legal just two states away. Add to that the fact that the Texas county where Lavoro is being tried recently sent a convicted murderer away for 20 years.
"I was outraged," Jack Holmes, Lavoro's attorney, said of first learning of the charges. "I've been doing this 22 years as a lawyer and I've got 10 years as a police officer and I've never seen anything like this before."
Lavoro's father, Joe, says that the police have completely abused their power: "Five years to life? I'm sorry. I'm a law-abiding citizen," he told Oklahoma City's News 4. Lavoro's father, Joe, says that the police have completely abused their power: "Five years to life? I'm sorry. I'm a law-abiding citizen," he told Oklahoma City's News 4. "I'm a conservative. I love my country. I'm a Vietnam veteran, but I'll be damned. This is wrong. This is fucking wrong. If he did something wrong, he should be punished but to the extent that makes sense. This is illogical. I'm really upset and I'm frightened. I'm frightened for my son."
Jamie Spencer, legal counsel for Texas NORML, points out that Lavoro would be facing less time if he had sexually assaulted someone or used a deadly weapon on someone.
"This case is the perfect example of the insanity of Texas' drug laws" Spencer tells KEYE-TV. "Especially when it comes to marijuana or anything where the active ingredient it THC"