In a scenario that has ensnared everyone from country icon Willie Nelson to fellow rapper Lil Wayne, “Black and Yellow” MC Wiz Khalifa was arrested on Monday night in Greenville, North Carolina, on drug charges after authorities allegedly smelled marijuana smoke coming from his tour bus.
According to John Durham, a spokesperson for East Carolina University, where Khalifa performed earlier in the evening, the 22-year-old rapper played a sold-out show at the university’s Wright Auditorium without a hitch. He had been paid $10,000 for the standing-room-only appearance in front of nearly 1,500 students who started a Facebook petition this summer to convince him to play their campus.
But Khalifa, who is very vocal about his marijuana use , was stopped by ECU police officers as he left the venue. “He was on his way with his band to his bus parked outside, and they stopped him because of a strong odor of marijuana emanating from the bus and the backstage area of the auditorium,” Durham said.
“They asked if he would cooperate with officers, and he agreed, and they went on his bus, and then he and nine members of his entourage were arrested on three charges related to marijuana possession,” Durham said. Police are alleged to have seized more than 60 grams of pot during the bust, or the equivalent of about 2 ounces.
On Tuesday morning (November 9), a spokesperson for the Pitt County Detention Center confirmed to MTV News that Khalifa (born Cameron Thomaz) was booked into the jail at around 1:30 a.m. He posted $300,000 bail and was released from detention at around 8 a.m. ET, along with one other unnamed member of his entourage. He was charged with a felony count of trafficking in marijuana, a felony count of maintaining a dwelling/vehicle/place for sale or storage of marijuana and one misdemeanor charge of possession of drug paraphernalia.
Keith Stroup, legal councel at the marijuana legalization advocacy group NORML, said it’s more than likely that Khalifa’s lawyers will make a plea agreement in which the rapper — who boasted in a recent interview about a $10,000-a-month weed habit and launched his own brand of rolling papers last month — will agree to possession of marijuana for personal use.
“You figure about one joint for each gram, so that’s 60 joints, and if you’re traveling on your tour bus, you don’t have your connection with you. If you were at home, you would not have that much on hand,” Stroup said, attempting to explain why Khalifa may have allegedly had that much marijuana on hand. “But unless they found scales or baggies or other evidence that someone bought [marijuana] from him, it will be a personal possession case.”
It was unclear at press time if police had found any such evidence of intent to distribute.
Stroup said that in North Carolina, possession of more than 1 1/2 ounces of marijuana is a felony punishable by up to 12 months in jail, but that is unlikely that prosecutors would pursue a trial and they would likely opt for a plea deal instead.
A spokesperson for Khalifa could not be reached for comment at press time.
Khalifa, who was named MTV News’ “Hottest Breakthrough MC of 2010″ and recently signed a multi-album deal with Atlantic Records, was appearing on the campus as part of his Waken Baken Tour 2010.
He tweeted about the arrest on Tuesday morning, writing, “Waken…baken…wrist still achin. thnx for tha love and support.” He followed up a short time later with the comment “man, jail sux!” and confirmed at around 11 a.m. ET that he had sprung the rest of his crew and was going to get some lunch.