Woman Pleads Guilty to Felony Drug Charge
A Massachusetts woman who says she thought her medical marijuana card gave her permission to take marijuana on a cross-country trip pleaded guilty to a felony charge Wednesday in Albany County District Court.
Allison Marie Ryan, 30, entered a guilty plea on one count of possession of a controlled substance -- specifically, over .3 grams of liquid THC -- as part of a plea deal. In exchange, Prosecutor Kurt Britzius plans to recommend probation at Ryan's sentencing hearing.
Ryan could be sentenced to serve up to five years in prison and pay a $10,000 fine. She was originally charged with third or subsequent offense possession of marijuana, third or subsequent offense possession of methamphetamine and one count of taking a controlled substance into a jail. Those charges were amended in a new felony information.
Ryan was arrested May 12 after an Albany County Sheriff's deputy stopped a gray Honda Accord on U.S. 287 and reportedly smelled marijuana when he approached the vehicle.
Court documents say Ryan, the only occupant of the vehicle, told the deputy she had a medical marijuana card and said in court Wednesday she thought it was legal for her to possess marijuana even in states that do not allow its use for medical purposes.
According to the deputy's affidavit, a search turned up several plastic baggies and a large metal pipe with suspected marijuana residue in the center console, a black prescription-style bottle containing marijuana along with THC-infused candies and a liquid THC product called "Nectaraide" weighing 106 grams in Ryan's purse, paraphernalia in the back seat of the Honda and a clear plastic cellophane containing a yellowish crystalline powder that tested presumptively positive for methamphetamine.
The deputy also reported searching Ryan and finding a container of hashish oil weighing 6.1 grams with packaging and a small pipe in the front left pocket of Ryan's pants.
Court documents say when another deputy searched Ryan prior to booking her into the Albany County Detention Center, the deputy found a small zippered pouch of marijuana on Ryan's person. Ryan reportedly told the deputy that she hid it because she "wanted something to smoke when she got out of jail."
The affidavit shows Ryan has three prior violations for possession of a controlled substance.
Ryan told Judge Jeffrey Donnell in court Wednesday that she legally bought the marijuana in Washington State and was told by her doctor that she could travel with it without any trouble. She said she drove from Massachusetts to California to visit a friend before visiting Washington State and then beginning her trip home.
"You got your legal advice from a doctor who prescribes weed for you?" asked Donnell. "Well, you should have left it in Washington."
Ryan said this was not her first felony conviction, but previous felony charges against her were deferred. She remains free on bond pending sentencing.
"You might want to think about giving up the drugs. This kind of criminal history will follow you around," Donnell said. "Life as you know it is over."
"A lot of people who use medical marijuana cards seem to think it's a free pass," said Donnell. "Wyoming is a very drug-unfriendly state."
"I'll never come to Wyoming with anything illegal," said Ryan.