Robert Michelson, a 21-year-old in Farmington, Connecticut, was thinking about growing a pot plant. He’d bought all of the seeds and everything. But at the last minute, he hesitated: Was he going to get in trouble for this? Marijuana is illegal, of course, but one plant? How bad could the consequences be? Michelson wondered. He could Google it, but who can trust information on the Internet? In the end, he decided to go straight to the source: the police. “I have a question,” he said to the 911 dispatcher. “Is this an emergency, sir?” she asked.
“Depends,” he said, thoughtfully.
“I have a legal question.”
“Is it an emergency?”
“I don’t know what that means.”
“Is it life-threatening or a crime in progress?” the dispatcher asked, growing more exasperated.
“Crime in progress, possibly,” Michelson responded.
“I was just growing some marijuana, and I was just wondering how much trouble you can get in for one plant.”
There was a long pause.
“You’re growing marijuana,” the dispatcher said slowly, barely able to hide her amusement. “And you want to know … Depends how big the plant is.”
“It’s only a seedling.”
“Well, it’s possession. You can get pinched for a roach in the car.”
“Okay, thanks for the information,” Michelson said.
Later, when cops arrived at his house and arrested him, Michelson found out exactly how much trouble one seedling, plus a pile of bongs and stuff, would get him in. At the moment, he’s out of jail after paying $5,000 in bail, and as the dispatcher informed him he would be, he has been charged with possession.