36-year-old NBA star Zach Randolph, formerly of the LA Clippers, the Memphis Grizzlies and now the Sacramento Kings was arrested in Watts this week under suspicion of possession with intent to sell marijuana. At the same time, another individual was arrested on suspicion of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
At 10:18 pm officers in a Watts neighborhood observed several people outside smoking marijuana, drinking, listening to loud music and blocking the street. When police showed up to confront the growing crowd, three individuals “reached into their waistbands and ran.” One of the people was immediately stopped and questioned, though he was subsequently released. The two others ran inside one of the homes and attempted to stop police from gaining entry. Their efforts did not bear fruit, though, and police were eventually able to enter the home and arrest the two suspects.
As the incident took place the crowd grew larger and people started throwing bottles at police cars and officers. The LAPD officers called for backup, and a number of additional LAPD and LASD officers arrived at the scene some minutes later. Officers ended up recovering cash, two guns and some narcotics from the scene.
Randolph is currently free on $20,000 bail and is scheduled to appear in court on August 21.
Possession of marijuana for the purpose of sale is covered under California Health and Safety Code 11359 HS. The recreational use of marijuana is legal in California, but selling it without the proper licensure is not. Most of the time, violations of Health and Safety Code 11359 HS is a misdemeanor, with the possible penalties of up to 6 months in county jail and/or a fine of up to $500.
After the passage of Prop 67, allowing for the recreational use of marijuana in California, there is a possibility that the charges could be upgraded to a felony if the defendant has a prior conviction of a violent felony, at least two prior convictions of possession of marijuana with intent to sell, or the defendant tried to sell the marijuana to someone under 18. If charged as a felony, the defendant faces 16 months to 3 years in county jail.