Charlotte Hornets big man Montrezl Harrell has more issues than losing during the play-in tournament and not advancing to the playoffs. Recently, the forward-center was charged with drug trafficking after reports that the police caught him with three pounds of cannabis during a traffic stop.
The traffic stop occurred in Richmond, Kentucky, last month. Originally, Harrell was scheduled to be arraigned on Monday in Madison County, Kentucky. However, the arraignment continued until July 13.
The 28-year-old was pulled over by a Kentucky state trooper on the morning of May 12, traveling southbound on I-75. He was reportedly stopped for following a vehicle in front of him too closely by a Kentucky State Trooper named Jesse Owens.
Report: Montrezl Harrell is facing felony drug charges for three pounds of marijuana in vacuum-sealed bags found at a traffic stop in Kentucky, via @rodboone. pic.twitter.com/IcbsusdPjE
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) June 14, 2022
Trooper Owens stated that “upon stop observed odor of marijuana.” Harrell was driving a rented silver 2020 Honda Pilot. Harrell then “admitted to being in possession of marijuana and produced a small amount from his sweatpants,” the citation stated.
However, during a vehicle search, the trooper found “three pounds of marijuana in vacuum sealed bags” in a backpack in the back seat. Harrell has been charged with trafficking less than five pounds of marijuana.
Possessing or trafficking eight or more ounces but less than five pounds of marijuana is a Class D Felony for first-time offenders under Kentucky law. The offense is also punishable by one to five years of incarceration, with a fine ranging from $1,000 to $10,000.
Harrell will be an unrestricted free agent next month.
I’m tired of Black men being brought up on weed charges as consumers when rich white men are board members of weed companies and profiting off of it as producers
Free Montrezl Harrell
— ᶜᵃˢᵗᵉʳ ˢʰᵉˡˡ (@castergunx) June 14, 2022
Turning The Tide Of “Trees”
Immediately, social media erupted over the charges, as the tone and tenor of the issue of cannabis usage has evolved in the country.
Cannabis possession and sale remain almost entirely illegal in Kentucky. In April of 2014, a law was passed allowing patients access to cannabidiol or “CBD,” a non-psychoactive element of marijuana in medicinal cases. However, Kentucky is likely not to increase the availability of CBD or even the legal usage of THC.
In the NBA, cannabis remains prohibited, but a relaxed testing protocol has brought the league more in line with its Big Four counterparts.
Harrell has played for five NBA teams throughout his career. He played for the Rockets from 2015-16 to 2016-17, then the Clippers from 2017-18 to 2019-20. He also played for the Lakers in 2020-21, the Wizards in 2021-22, and the Hornets in 2021-22.
A Louisville Standout
Harrell was an early entry candidate for the 2015 NBA draft following his junior season at Louisville. As a junior, he averaged 15.7 points and 9.2 rebounds while earning All-ACC Second Team honors.
He was the recipient of the inaugural Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Award presented by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He finished second in the conference in rebounding as a junior and recorded 13 double-doubles.
Harrell scored 20 plus points nine times in his final season for the Cardinals, including 30 plus once. Harrell also completed his career as the Louisville Cardinals’ all-time leader in dunks shooting .586 from the floor during his career. Shot .609 from the floor as a sophomore, led the AAC, and ranked sixth nationally.
Earned All-AAC First Team honors as a sophomore in addition to being named the conference’s Most Improved Player after increasing his averages to 14.0 ppg and 8.4 rpg, up from 5.7 ppg and 3.6 rpg as a freshman.
As a freshman, 43 of his 97 field goals came from dunks, and Harrell tasted glory early as Louisville won the NCAA National Championship his freshman season.