In Pennsylvania on January 9 2019, a 21-year-old man faced arrest after leaving two pounds of cannabis in the vehicle he hired through Uber. Malik Mollett solicited and then took the ride but left behind a bag containing the haul. He later emailed Uber asking for its return.

Undercover police arranged to meet the owner of the bag containing two pounds of cannabis in a branch of McDonald's. Photo: Mike Mozart

Undercover police arranged to meet the owner of the bag containing two pounds of cannabis in a branch of McDonald’s. Photo: Mike Mozart

Oops! That was careless.

After being contacted by Uber by email on December 29 2018, the day of his hiring, the driver found the bag. He looked inside it to find two pounds of cannabis. As Trooper Steve Limani put it, the driver realised he had “been toting around a bunch of marijuana that’s sealed and packaged inside this bag.” The driver phoned the filth. A trooper obtained Mollett’s number from Uber’s records and called him. The trooper posed as the driver and despatched a photo showing the bag. It was agreed that a meeting would take place at McDonald’s on Route 30 in North Huntingdon, which is near Pittsburgh.


The copper who returned the bag with its two pounds of cannabis to Mollett noted his excitement. The officer involved commented that Mollett asked, “How much of this did you guys smoke?” The officer replied to this in the negative. Mollett acknowledged that the bag belonged to him, whereupon the copper walked away. Other plain-clothes officers present in Mickey D’s were left to arrest him.

Held on bail

Mollett is in custody with bail set at $150,000. The charges are possession of drugs and criminal use of a communication facility. Police stated that the two pounds of dope was of very high quality. It would have fetched thousands of dollars on the streets.

Cannabis in Pennsylvania

In 2016, the state of Pennsylvania made cannabis legal for people with one of 17 medical conditions. You can read about most of them right here. While legal for medical usage, it isn’t for recreational. State senator Dayling Leach, a Democrat, remarked, “Pennsylvania can only do so many things at a time.”

Leach was behind the bill to legalise cannabis for medical purposes. He has now turned his attention to the recreational. Legislation would treat cannabis in the same manner as alcohol. God knows, Pennsylvania could do with the money – Colorado and Washington collected $54 and $70 million after full legalisation, while Pennsylvania faces a budget deficit of over a billion dollars. If, as proposed, distribution of the drug took place through state-controlled off licences, there would be no need to create distribution facilities.

Members of the GOP (Grand Old Party, ie Republicans) are dead against legalisation. State Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman regards legalisation of recreational cannabis as a “catastrophe”. He vowed to do “everything in my power to prevent” it. It would be catastrophic, he feels, because cannabis is a depressant (it’s actually the opposite) and a gateway drug (when it’s actually less of one than alcohol) and would “harm our youth” (no, it doesn’t).

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