legalization | 01.01.2022

Woman Faces Felony Charges After Cops Mistake Pistachio Shells for Weed

In Spring Grove, Illinois a woman faces felony charges for driving with pistachio crumbs.

I guess celebrity advocates like Wee Man, Psy, and Miss Piggy weren’t enough; pistachios still face persecution in some parts of America. A woman in Illinois is facing felony drug possession charges, but her lawyer seems pretty confident the case will be dropped. After all, the marijuana the police thought they saw in her car was just pistachios.

Nancy Pahlman of Spring Grove, Illinois, was released from jail earlier this week. Of course, pistachios aren’t reason enough for jail time. Police found her with tramadol, a prescription painkiller, in her coat pocket. The pills belonged to a relative who was seeking cancer treatment and passed away, and Pahlman simply forgot to remove them from her jacket according to her attorney, Philip Prossnitz. To make the charges even pettier, Pahlman has her own prescription for the same medication.

Nancy Pahlman, 59, of Round Lake Beach

But Prossnitz’ case against the charges stems from an even stranger detail. While Pahlman was pulled over for speeding in early January, the police warranted themselves to search her car over what they thought were bits of marijuana on the car seat. Upon closer inspection, the specs were of a different, completely innocuous green: pistachio shells. 

It was after police had Pahlman step out of her vehicle that they discovered the tramadol. Philip Prossnitz says that because the initial drug investigation was over a healthy snack, dangerous only to those with nut allergies, that police had no right to enter Pahlman’s car in the first place. He plans to bring a bag of pistachios into court as evidence. “I think we are a motion to suppress and a bag of pistachio nuts away from resolving this matter,” said Prossnitz.

All I know is that if junk food crumbs on car seats are enough for police searches I have to call to warn my dad immediately.

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