HOUSTON - A California man never imagined the world of trouble he could end up in for a prescription he’s had for years.
Phillip Blanton faces two felony drug charges after his prescribed medical marijuana and edible cookies were found in the trunk of his car during a traffic stop.
It happened as Blanton was driving from Newman, Calif., to the Houston area on Jan. 1.
He was making the trip to visit his 20-year-old granddaughter who has Stage 4 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
Blanton was stopped for speeding in Decatur, Texas, more than 1,500 miles into his journey.
“I said, 'Officer, I don’t have any illegal drugs on me. Everything I have is a prescription from my doctor,'” Blanton said. “He goes, 'If that dog finds anything, you’re going to jail.'”
He admitted to having a pipe in his car, which was enough probable cause to lead to a search of the vehicle.
A DPS trooper found four ounces of his prescribed marijuana and the edibles in his trunk.
“I said, 'What? Are you kidding me? I’m a patient. I’m a grandfather -- not a drug dealer,'” Blanton said. “I’m there in handcuffs feeling like a total loser…a second-class citizen.”
Blanton spent the night in the Wise County Jail and was released after posting the necessary portion of his $20,000 bond.
He’s been told it could take up to six months to get a court date.
“I’m not a recreational user. I’ve been a medical user for the past 10 years,” he said. “What’s going through my mind is terror. I’m a 67-year-old grandpa who loves his family very much and wants to see his granddaughter who’s battling for her life.”
Blanton said he’s made himself physically sick over the stress and shock from the ordeal.
Doctors have advised that he not visit his granddaughter Makayla in her hospital room in the Houston Medical Center until he gets better.
“My daughter and son-in-law are already going through hardship with my granddaughter. We didn’t tell her that papa has been arrested. I feel so bad because I came here to uplift my family,” he added.
Blanton said he will not accept a plea deal because he doesn’t believe he’s done anything wrong.
He also worries he could end up in prison.
Ironically, he used to help inmates in the California prison system during his time as a minister through drug and alcohol programs.
Blanton credits medical marijuana for helping his health tremendously following complications from triple bypass surgery, lingering pain from surviving polio and a host of other medical issues.
Possession of marijuana across state lines is illegal in most cases and possession is not protected under federal law.
Certain patients with epilepsy can use highly-regulated, low THC cannabis in Texas if its prescribed by a doctor registered with the state.
(© 2017 KHOU)