The former Sheriff of St. Johns County was found in possession of cannabis in his sport utility vehicle on a St. Augustine Beach road this month, but police let him go with a simple warning.
David Shoar, Sheriff of St. Johns County from 2004 to 2021, was busted with possession of marijuana in his Ford Explorer. According to a St. Augustine Beach Police Department (SABPD) report, Officer Brett Adams said he sensed what smelled like burning marijuana coming from Shoar’s SUV even before he pulled the vehicle over when he observed Shoar did not stop at a red traffic light on State Road A1A before turning onto Pope Road in the coastal community.
Shoar immediately brandished his Florida state-issued medical marijuana card, which permits legal use of prescribed cannabis. but the weed must be stored in prescribed containers and packages from a dispensary. There was no prescribed container or package. Even though marijuana is legal for medicinal and prescribed use in Florida, it is still illegal to drive under the influence of the drug.
The incident took place at about 9 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 15.
After the traffic stop was made, Adams said in the report, “I observed pieces of marijuana on the center console (of the SUV). Additionally, there was a very strong odor of marijuana emitting from the vehicle.”
Adams stated he asked the former Sheriff to exit from his vehicle. A search of the vehicle was conducted and an additional three marijuana cigarettes were located inside the Explorer.
Adams wrote in his report, “I collected the marijuana and submitted it into evidence for destruction.”
Coincidentally, Shoar was an outspoken critic of some proposed measures in Florida that would have legalized medicinal marijuana before the drug got state approval for prescriptions. In 2015, a Florida Politics report noted Shoar, who was President of the Florida Sheriff’s Association, was opposed to elements of state legislative proposals to legalize medicinal cannabis.
Adams said he gave Shoar a “verbal warning for both the traffic violation and having marijuana in the vehicle.” The former Sheriff was allowed to drive away from the traffic stop.
No field sobriety test was given.
SABPD Police Chief Daniel Carswell issued a statement this week addressing the officer’s actions and said the incident was handled appropriately.
“A roadside investigation and interview were conducted by officers. No driver impairment was detected during the interview/investigation,” Carswell said in a brief type-written statement which largely recounted the incident report drafted by Adams.
“SABPD officers conducted a thorough investigation adhering to agency policy and standard operating procedures,” Carswell concluded in his prepared statement.