West Memphis man arrested for possession of marijuana despite having medical card

WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. — UPDATE (7/1) Prosecutors dropped all charges against the man after being arrested for having 1.5 grams of marijuana on him.

A West Memphis man was arrested and charged for possession of marijuana Thursday night despite having a medical marijuana license.

“He treated me like a criminal instead of like a patient. I’m an Arkansas-certified patient,” said Tommie Burnette, Sr.

Burnette is tired

Burnette was arrested and charged with marijuana possession hours earlier.

He paid nearly $1,000 for bail and for his truck, which was towed the night before.

Burnette’s daughter was with him when FOX13 Investigates interviewed him Friday afternoon.

“That’s my little girl,” Burnette pointed out. “I could be buying her summer clothes. Why do I look like [I have the money to pay for everything]?”

Download the FOX13 Memphis app to receive alerts from breaking news in your neighborhood.

Trending stories:

West Memphis Police arrested Burnette for having 1.5 grams on him.

But Burnette said that shouldn’t matter since he has a medical marijuana license on him.

Incident report

West Memphis police pulled over Burnette near South 17th Street and East Jackson Thursday night for not having a tag light on his Chevrolet Avalanche, according to the incident report.

Police contend smoke could be seen rolling out of Burnette’s vehicle, along with “the strong odor of burnt marijuana,” per the report.

Burnette denies he was smoking in his vehicle. He was not charged with driving under the influence.

Police and Burnette said the West Memphis man handed over his Arkansas Medical Marijuana card, as well as his driver’s license.

Burnette told FOX13 Investigates he knew his car smelled like marijuana and wanted to inform them he had a license.

Police asked Burnette to step out of his vehicle, patted him down and looked in his pockets after Burnette gave consent, according to the incident report.

The detective reportedly found 1.5 grams of marijuana in a clear plastic bag.

Instead of issuing a warning, Burnette was charged and taken into custody.

West Memphis Police wouldn’t put someone on camera to talk about these charges but said in a text to FOX13, “This is a legitimate arrest.”

State regulations

Arkansas law states medical marijuana packaging from cultivation facilities and dispensaries must be child-proof.

An Arkansas Department of Health spokesperson told FOX13 that registered patients are allowed to carry up to 2.5 ounces of medical marijuana, which is just under 71 grams.

West Memphis Police said Burnette had 1.5 grams of marijuana on him and it was not in a child-proof container.

“I’m going to be there [in court] with my lawyer and be ready for them,” said Burnette.

Burnette said he’s had similar misdemeanor possession of marijuana charges in the past.

State records show he was charged in 2018, but those charges were ultimately dropped after Burnette was found not guilty.