US man smokes weed in courthouse

The man in the black jacket believed he was allowed to smoke weed inside the court.
The man in the black jacket believed he was allowed to smoke weed inside the court. Photo credit: Multnomah County Sheriff's Office

A man in his 30s was caught on camera sitting in a US courthouse casually smoking weed.

The man, who thought it was appropriate to smoke a joint during a shooting trial, was immediately approached by two deputies in the Portland courtroom.

Courthouse deputy Chris Payne said he walked through a plume of smoke to get to the man and told him he needed to leave the courtroom. The man stepped into the hall.

"I said, 'Sir, you need to leave the courthouse now,'" Payne recounted to The Oregonian/OregonLive. "He said, 'Why?' I said, 'You can't smoke marijuana in public.' And he said, 'Oh, you can't?'"

Mr Payne said the man seemed genuinely surprised. He also showed "signs of being high", the deputy said.

Oregon voters legalised recreational marijuana starting on July 1, 2015. The law says people 21 years and older can carry up to an ounce in public with them and grow up to four plants per household.

The law also allows people to smoke it in their private homes, but not in parks, on buses, on sidewalks or in other public venues, such as a government building.

Cheryl Albrecht, the judge, said she noticed the deputies asking the man to leave, but she didn't know why he was ejected.

"A couple of minutes later, I just smelled this strong smell of marijuana, and I don't know where it's coming from," she said. "I look at the detective on the stand and think, 'It's not him.' And I look at my clerk, and I know it's not her.

"Never have I seen anything like that," Judge Albrecht said, and she's been a magistrate and a judge for 16 years.

Deputies didn't get the man's name, nor did they try to issue him a citation.

The deputies that morning were focused on supervising the two murder defendants. The goal was to alleviate the problem, and the deputies did just that by getting the man to leave.

During the next break, the deputies filled in the judge and the attorneys.

"To me, that guy is living proof that marijuana makes you stupid," said Alicia Hercher, an attorney for one of the murder defendants. "It's absolutely advertising for not smoking weed."