We’ve all seen the bumper stickers and t-shirts that have depictions of a 7 to 9-leafed plant and the caption “Legalize It” under or over the picture. Obviously, the pictures are referring to marijuana. Although I don’t really have any problem with legalizing marijuana (that doesn’t mean I endorse smoking it; I just don’t think this issue should concern the feds at all, pretty much like every other issue it involves itself in), in this day and age, wearing a “legalize marijuana” t-shirt or putting a marijuana bumper sticker on your car is simply asking for trouble with the police. It’s basically begging police officers to search you and your car.
So, what does this have to do with the football team? I don’t know anything about football, but I do know about the Ohio Buckeyes. I had a co-worker a few years back who was from Ohio, and she was a Buckeyes fan. She had the Ohio State logo on her cubicle wall. And apparently, when Ohio State players make good plays, they put small buckeye leaf decals on their helmets.
If you’re a Buckeyes fan, you can also get these leaf decals and put them on your car. This is what one fan did. Sixty-five-year-old Bonnie Jonas-Boggioni is originally from Columbus, Ohio, but she and her husband now live in Plano, Texas. They were on their way back home from attending the husband’s mother’s funeral in Columbus when Tennessee police pulled them over. The Columbus Dispatch reported:
“’Knowing I wasn’t speeding, I couldn’t imagine why,’ she said. Two officers approached, one on each side of the car. ‘They were very serious,” she said. “They had the body armor and the guns.’ Because the couple’s two schnauzers were barking furiously, one of the officers had Jonas-Boggioni exit the car so he could hear her better.”
He then asked her, “What are you doing with a marijuana sticker on your bumper?” She explained that it wasn’t a marijuana sticker, but a Buckeye leaf decal. She also showed the armor-clad and heavily armed police officer her sweatshirt that commemorated the 2002 national-championship season, and it also had a Buckeye leaf.
The officer claimed that he got word from another law enforcement agent that spotted the “suspicious” leaf on the vehicle and had indicated to him that the sticker might mean there was marijuana in the car. Before the officer let the couple go, he advised her to remove the decal permanently so that (I guess) other officers wouldn’t be confused by it.
In their defense, buckeye leaves are similar to marijuana leaves in that they are both shades of green. And they are both palmately compound; that is, they have more than 3 leaflets attached to the petiole. Buckeye leaves typically have 5 leaflets, and marijuana can have anywhere between 5 and 9.
But we’re talking about law enforcement officers. They pride themselves on how knowledgeable they are about terrorism and drugs. They go to their seminars and come out thinking they’re experts. They know all the catch phrases, the lingo and all the “symptoms” associated with drugs and domestic terrorism. And they can’t even tell the difference between a buckeye leaf and a marijuana leaf? And on top of that, they want the completely innocent driver to remove the sticker because other “expert” officers might fall for it as well.
Come to think of it, St. Patrick’s Day is coming up. Don’t wear any of those green shamrocks, because a cop might mistake it for marijuana.