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Man arrested for handing out marijuana ‘because it was Christmas’

Richard Ellis Spurrier, 67, had leafy gifts for people walking along Second Street downtown, police said.

ST. PETERSBURG — A 67-year-old man was arrested Saturday for handing out an illicit Christmas gift to passersby in downtown St. Petersburg, police say.

Someone pointed St. Petersburg police to Richard Ellis Spurrier at about 11:30 p.m. Saturday and said he was handing out marijuana to people as they passed him at 16 Second St. near Central Avenue, according to an arrest affidavit.

When they approached Spurrier, officers noticed he had bits of marijuana hanging off his right shirt sleeve. In his backpack, they found a bag of marijuana that weighed 45 grams, or about 1½ ounces; a purple glass pipe; and a black digital scale, both with marijuana residue on them, according to the affidavit. They also found a prescription bottle with Spurrier’s name on it.

Spurrier told police he was handing out the marijuana “because it was Christmas,” according to the affidavit.

Spurrier was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to sell or distribute and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was booked into Pinellas County Jail and released Sunday on his own recognizance. His address was listed as transient.