Fiona Apple Busted for Hash Possession in West Texas

Posted September 24, 2012 in Criminal Law by

Rock star Fiona Apple was busted for possession of hash and marijuana on Sept. 19 when her tour bus was searched at a checkpoint in West Texas – the same checkpoint where other famous musicians, including Willie Nelson and Snoop Dogg, have been snared for drug possession. Actor Armie Hammer and Texan rapper Paul Wall have also visited the local clink on similar charges.

Apple, who ironically won a Grammy with the 1998 hit “Criminal,” was arrested after her tour bus was stopped at a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint on I-10 in the tiny town of Sierra Blanca, Texas. “What she needs is a good defense . . . attorney,” commented Christopher Danzig on Above the Law in a parody on lyrics from the award-winning song.

Her widely published mug shot features the singer looking like she’s asleep and wearing a horrid black and white block-striped blouse. “Looks like Fiona was picturing all the ‘Criminal’ headline puns that she knew were coming,” said Danzig.

She spent the night in jail in Hudspeth County, and was reportedly freed on $10,000 bail the next day, according to a local news report. The 35-year-old singer is promoting her first album in years on what is being called her comeback tour. According to the Brooklyn Vegan, her show in Austin on Sept. 20 was “postponed,” but she played the next date in Houston on Sept 21.

Other news sources quoted a Hudspeth County Sheriff spokesperson as saying that drug dogs sniffed out the stash, which police found in a backpack. They found about four grams of pot and the same amount of hash, which is made from the resin of marijuana plants and is highly concentrated.


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Why have so many stars been busted in this tiny town 85 miles east of El Paso? Situated 20 miles from the U.S. border with Mexico and right on I-10, a major east-west interstate connecting California to Florida, Sierra Blanca is a prime location for a checkpoint. Musicians go through it on their cross-country tours, and it’s close to a porous border known for drug trafficking.

Musicians who carry drugs on their tour buses clearly aren’t doing their homework on different states’ drug laws. Possession of 2 ounces or less of marijuana in Texas is a misdemeanor that carries a possible 180-day prison term and $2,000 fine, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Law’s website. (Four grams equals less than 0.15 of an ounce.) Possession of any amount of hash is a third-degree felony, which is punishable by two to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.


Medical-Use ID Card Won’t Help in Texas

Snoop Dog reportedly tried to flash his medical-use marijuana papers at border patrol agents at the same stop in Hudspeth County, but they were having none of it. In fact, even though both medicinal marijuana and hash are legal in California, where Snoop lives, medical cards authorizing their use usually aren’t recognized outside of California.

According to NORML, only a few states have some form of reciprocity:

  • Arizona, Montana and Michigan have reciprocity in their medical marijuana laws
  • Maine allows out-of-state patients to exercise their rights for 30 days.
  • Rhode Island respects out-of-state recommendations for any “debilitating medical condition.”
  • Vermont allows recommendations from neighboring states for Vermont residents only.
  • An Oregon court has ruled that patients from out of state can register with the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program to obtain a registry identification card.

If you’re considering transporting medical-use marijuana across state lines, do your research. And if you get into legal trouble, contact a criminal defense lawyer in your state on

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