Merry Kushmas: Elderly couple caught with 27kg of Christmas cannabis

A pair of senior citizens will spend the holiday season in prison after they were caught transporting a huge amount of cannabis to their family as Christmas gifts.

Patrick Jiron, 80, and his 70-year-old wife, Barbara, were driving from California to Vermont to be with family, but were pulled over in Nebraska when he failed to indicate while changing lanes.

The driving error proved more costly than normal when officers immediately smelled raw cannabis as they spoke to the couple through the driver's window.

Lieutenant Paul Vrbka of the York County Sheriff's Department says the deputies brought in a canine unit after getting a whiff of the odour, and the dogs further confirmed the presence of cannabis.

They then carried out a search that uncovered a whopping 27kg of the drug, which had been stashed in boxes throughout the vehicle.

Lt Vrbka told the York News Times the mammoth haul of pot has a street value of US$336,000 (NZ$478,000). The Jirons defended themselves by claiming it was going to be gifted to their family members for Christmas.

The pair will now spend the holiday season in jail on suspicion of felony possession of marijuana with the intent to deliver, and no drug tax stamp.

Cannabis is currently illegal for recreational use in Nebraska, Vermont and in California.