Spring 2024 Cannabis Update (Part II)

In Part I of my Spring 2024 cannabis update, I discussed the search and seizure issues arising in North Carolina courts around cannabis. Part II explores drug identification evidence issues surrounding marijuana prosecutions and examines potential challenges defenders might raise. This post will also cover recent developments on the state, federal, and tribal levels impacting cannabis.

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Notice and Demand — One More Time

I recently wrote here about North Carolina’s notice and demand statutes and how they allow the State to obtain a constitutionally valid waiver of confrontation clause rights with respect to forensic reports and chain of custody evidence. The purpose of that post was to remind litigants of the existence of the statutes. But knowing about … Read more


North Carolina’s Notice and Demand Statute for Chemical Analyses in Drug Cases Is Constitutional

In Melendez-Diaz v. Massachussetts, the United States Supreme Court held that forensic laboratory reports—such as those identifying a substance as a controlled substance—are testimonial and subject to the new Crawford Confrontation Clause rule. For more detail on that decision, you can review a paper posted here. Under the Crawford rule, testimonial statements by declarants who … Read more


Galindo and “Substitute Analysts” After Melendez-Diaz

On October 20, 2009, the North Carolina Court of Appeals decided State v. Galindo, holding that a Crawford violation occurred when the State’s expert gave an opinion, in a drug trafficking case, as to the weight of the cocaine at issue, based “solely” on a laboratory report by a non-testifying analyst. To put the decision … Read more


State v. Locklear and the Admissibility of Forensic Reports

Last Friday, the North Carolina Supreme Court decided State v. Locklear, holding, in part, that a Crawford violation occurred when the trial court admitted opinion testimony regarding a victim’s cause of death and identity. Because the case raises questions about the viability of offering a “substitute analyst” to avoid a Crawford problem, I offer this … Read more

Melendez-Diaz: Crawford Applies to Lab Reports

In yesterday’s frivolous post, I said that legal news was slow. Not anymore! The United States Supreme Court decided Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts yesterday. It’s a big Confrontation Clause case, and I expect that Jessica Smith, the Crawford expert on our faculty, will eventually weigh in with an expert analysis. But since Jessie’s still busy administering … Read more