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Madison High School Student Arrested for Marijuana Possession, Intent To Distribute

Police discovered substance in 18-year-old's car, home following a Feb.5 traffic stop

Update June 12 2012: Fairfax County Court records now show a "nolle prosequi," indicating the county decided not to prosecute Medwedeff for either of the charges.

Original Feb 8 2011: An 18-year-old James Madison High School student was arrested Saturday and charged with two counts of possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute.

Cameron Scott Medwedeff, 18, of Windover Avenue,was stopped on Saturday by Vienna Police Sgt. Tom Taylor in the 200 block of Maple Avenue. As Taylor approached the vehicle he detected marijuana, according to Vienna Police, and after further investigation, he found four ounces of marijuana in the trunk.

Vienna Police said Taylor later received a search warrant for Medwedeff's home, where he found drug paraphernalia and an additional 11 ounces of marijuana.

Medwedeff was taken to the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center, where he was held on $7,500 bond for each of the two charges brought against him. Attempts to call  the center to confirm if Medwedeff was still held there were unsuccessful.

Vienna Police Officer Bill Murray said he does not recall the last time police arrested a Madison student for possession with the intent to distribute. He said the department is "constantly in contact" with the school and its resource officer, and prepares reports to the school for all arrested students.

Green February 12, 2011 at 09:25 PM
"Most students at Madison do NOT smoke pot..." as a madison HS graduate in 1010, i can tell you with full confidence, madison Highschool is known to be one of the biggest marijuana consuming schools in Virginia. our own principal, mr. Mark Merrell has smoked pot- and there are pictures still circulating to prove it. ive personally known Cameron, and his family for 5 years. they are all good people. although cameron had an unbelievable amount of pot on him, his personality isnt the kind that deserves to be in jail. He has a kind heart, witch will most definitely rot away in penitentiary. the arresting officer is known to conduct searches without probable cause. i know from experience..... in fact, does anyone know the reason Cameron was pulled over? " for making a left turn." - if there had been a witness in the car, this case would be thron out due to " unreasonable search and seizure." sure cam will end up spending time. but do you Really think that the marijuana game will notice? if the arresting officer really wanted to make a difference, he would head over to Langly highschool. the amount of cocaine they devour is amazing. just 2 weeks ago on the "ski canada" trip U.S Customs seized over an once of coke & no charges were filed. whats a little pot compared to cocaine? 70% or more of madison high school smokes pot. i was in the 30% until i was enlightened. if your child goes to madison, and you think that they have never touched pot, think again.
Kathy February 12, 2011 at 09:36 PM
What I find the most heartbreaking is that a family's personal tragedy has been posted, emailed, texted, and broadcast all over. This is a wonderful family. The parents have gone out of their way to help others and are a big part of our community. Cameron messed up big time - pot is illegal right now and so he broke the law. But this family should still be able to hold their heads up in town. I'm sorry for them. I think it's a shame sometimes what makes big news in today's world. I don't think Madison has any larger of a drug problem than any other high school regardless of what's reported. Drugs are out there and they always will be. It's unfortunately but the truth. Perhaps this family needs some support to get through it as they all deal with the legal issues as well as the public humiliation.
Muireadach February 12, 2011 at 10:00 PM
Pamm - I am aware of the hysterical parent who witnessed kids passing around a bag of pot during a game in the gymnasium. It was determined that the incident involved a benigh snack like sunflower seeds or something. Yet the rumor persists and the nutjobs united around the false incident. If kids would flash bags of reefer, then they would be brave enough to pass around cigarettes and other contraband, would they not? Kids are not that dumb. I have multiple children who have graduated from Madison in the past 10 years, male and female. They're honest with me about drug use because they know I won't wig out. Whoever's child is coming home with reports of rampant daytime drug use at Madison has real issues that should be dealt with. Conjuring up such stories for attention is indicitive of other problems in that family. What we have here in the community is a new class of helicopter mommies. If this turns out to be their forum of choice, I won't spend anymore time educating them. They deserve to lose sleep over this, and I relish that fact they they waste all their time carping at PTA meetings. If your kids are college bound, you can't hover there. And, even Libery University has their off campus parties.
Kathy February 12, 2011 at 10:57 PM
My "facts" are based on extensive volunteer work with students in the community which allowed me many conversations with students and parents as well as three of my own children having graduated from Madison. So they're not facts as would be recognized in a court of law. I remember a statistics professor once telling me that there were three types of lies. Lies, damned lies, and statistics.
Jane February 12, 2011 at 11:28 PM
What statistics? Students were asked "Have you smoked marijuana in the last 30 days - yes or no." 17% overall of Fairfax County students answered yes. 25% of Madison students answered yes. I don't think there is any data interpretation involved. Madison students report 50% higher use of marijuana in last 30 days than the Fairfax County average. After I became aware of the problem by talking to numerous Madison students, I compared stories with students at Marshall, Fairfax, and South Lakes. They admit drug use occurs but outside of their schools. They were shocked to hear kids get high in the bathrooms at Madison and consistently show up stoned and nothing happens. I agree, that is hearsay which is what you also have. I think the "poll" speaks volumes as does Green's comments. If kids tell you different, maybe they don't want you to know or if it's your kids, they are afraid you will ask too many questions....The poll allows for anonymity.
Dick Kennedy February 13, 2011 at 01:59 AM
I'm not aware of data for individual schools but here are some numbers from the 2010 Monitoring the Future survey of 396 high schools around the country. Of 15,100 12-graders surveyed, the following percentages reported using a given drug within the last 30 days. (The numbers might be low, because the students had to put their name on the survey and all these drugs are illegal for kids.): alcohol, 41.2%; marijuana, 21.4%; cigarettes, 19.2%; smokeless tobacco, 8.5%; any illicit drug other than marijuana, 8.6%; amphetamines, 3.3%; barbiturates, 2.2%; tranquilizers, 2.5%; (other drugs are lower, most below 1%). The good news is that cigarette use is down by almost half since 1997, when it was 36.5%. Marijuana use is also down, but only by 2.3%. As the report states, "Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and mortality in the United States, and is usually initiated in adolescence. That makes what happens in adolescence particularly important." And the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids says that 152,000 Virginia kids will die from smoking! Note that this decline in use was achieved even though kids rarely (if ever) get busted for smoking tobacco. The bad news is that 26.8% of the 12-graders said they had been drunk in the past month, and less than half thought it was "very dangerous" to have five or more drinks in a row, once or twice a week, every week.
Kathy February 13, 2011 at 02:47 AM
Alison - for some reason I'm unable to reply to the bits of posts within my statement so I'm bringing my comment down here. You asked me "What statistics" and then proceeded to quote statistics. I simply don't trust statistics as polls can be skewed. In reading your posts, you seem to see things as black and white. I don't believe that when dealing with human lives, issues are ever black and white like that. The fact is that I know this family and my heart breaks for them. That's the bottom line. I've also talked to enough people - parents, students, and FCPS staff - that I disagree with you. That's okay. No one says we have to agree with each other. I also hear Green's comments about other high schools and the drugs available there. I have long heard that Langley has a bigger problem with drugs. Personally, I have a bigger problem with other drug use such as cocaine, amphetamines, etc than I do with marijuana. I understand that Cameron has broken the law. To me, that's not the issue. I'm just disappointed that it's all over the news, Facebook, emails, texts, etc the way it is. He's an 18 year old kid. I feel that the family should have some privacy as they deal with this tragedy and I'm sorry that the story spread so fast. It feels like a public humiliation and they don't deserve that.
Anone E. Mous February 13, 2011 at 06:17 AM
Hysterical parents aside, why is there so much stigmata associated with marijuana? Marijuana has been shown to actually cause the growth of new brain cells, it causes cancer cells to kill themselves, and a DEA judge called it one of the most nontoxic substances on the face of the earth. Marijuana does not cause cancer, and in heavy users it was found to cause no cognitive impairment. So why continue to disregard these all around benefits of marijuana? There are tonnes of really smart kids/people who smoke pot, and aren't negatively effected, that is until the Fairfax county cops show up.
Laura B. February 13, 2011 at 06:21 PM
Anone E. Mous, please look up the word "stigmata."
me February 14, 2011 at 12:58 AM
Cameron is one of the nicest, sweetest guys i know. He doesnt't deserve to have his life ended over a plant that is soon to be legal anyways. He's been 18 for almost 3 weeks, that entitles him to adulthood? punishment for his actions should'nt ruin the quality of the rest of his life. On another note, Ofiicer Taylor is know for not following protocol and has numerous cases thrown out because of his actions. Check the records, it'll speak for itself. Vienna would truly be so much better if we didnt have cops who are trying to get kids in trouble rather than better the community. Not to sound like a liberal but its just a plant, why ruin Camerons life over it? And i do know that madison students are known for smoking the most weed. Many people are aware, even madison administration with all of their new security plans. And whoever posted this, show some respect for Cameron and his family and delete this. How incredibly rude and shameful of you. and i know i speak for the majority of madison when i say: cameron we love you
Dick Kennedy February 14, 2011 at 02:51 AM
The "DEA judge" referred to above is DEA Senior Administrative Judge Francis Young, who ruled in 1988 on a petition to remove marijuana from Schedule One of the Controlled Substances Act. After hearing testimony for two years and collecting 15 volumes of research, he not only ruled in favor of the petition but stated "Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man .....Marijuana is far safer than many of the foods we commonly consume." The petition, by the way, was filed in 1972, but our government (for whom I worked for 31 years as a CIA analyst) used every delaying tactic in the book to keep it from coming to trial. Unfortunately, drug policy is made by political types who routinely disregard the advice of drug experts, and Judge Young's ruling was ignored (just like the unanimous 1972 recommendation of the US National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse that pot should be decriminalized). As a result, an apparently decent 18-year old may be facing a long jail sentence for trafficking in a product that is "far safer than many of the foods we commonly consume".
Anone E. Mous February 14, 2011 at 06:04 AM
L. Bligh, I stick by my phrasing, the english language is a versatile creature, and stigmata fits the exact mold I wanted it to. People think that marijuana is some sort of harmful substance despite the fact that it is one of the few things on this planet that can't kill you. To add to what Richard Kennedy said, the government will go to never ending lengths to keep marijuana prohibition alive. A study conducted in 1974 which found that marijuana (specifically THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana) retarded tumor growth in mice. Subsequent research was suspended by then President Jimmy Carter and we're just now beginning to get back to that point we were standing at in 1974. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=1159836&dopt=Citation -1974 study linking tumor shrinkage to marijuana http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20516734 - 2010 study linking tumor shrinkage to marijuana
PAM February 14, 2011 at 01:58 PM
I too feel for Cameron's family; however, I am comforted knowing that he will now get help and guidance to become drug free. I can't quite understand why educated parents rationalize that breaking the laws are OK because they have read about a study or research. A law is a law and when broken, people are punished. If you don't like the law, direct your efforts to changing the law. In the mean time, I think its best to teach our kids to obey existing laws. Last ... a number of parents seem to accept a certain level of drug use as "normal". I wonder how they would feel if their child used some drug or drank alcohol, and while impaired, drove a car, wrecked and there were deaths or serious injuries. Not far fetched; happens all the time. The laws are written to protect young adults who have not formed mature judgement yet. School rules and regulations are in place for same reason - to protect the kids. I want my children to go to drug free school so they can enjoy their high school years without peer pressure to do drugs. I will also do my part as a parent to monitor their activities and friends for same reason. I expect the schools to do their part - per the Fairfax County school regulations. School admin should make every effort to keep drugs from schools; no low level is acceptable. If school admin is not making such efforts, parents should step in to encourage the school admin to perform. Lets keep kids safe, at home and at school.
Dick Kennedy February 14, 2011 at 06:29 PM
It's sad that people still believe in a "gateway theory" that had been discredited 40 years ago, when I first became interested in drug policy. Young people try marijuana before the "hard" drugs because it's cheaper, readily available, and a lot of their friends are using it it. For the same reasons, almost all pot smokers have already used alcohol and tobacco before they try weed. And for most kids that's where their drug experimentation ends--the vast majority of marijuana users do not go on to anything worse. So if you want a label for marijuana, "terminus drug" would be much more accurate than "gateway drug". It is true that a there are number of drugs that can kill faster than tobacco--alcohol, heroin, cocaine, and meth among them--but the numbers show that tobacco kills a higher percentage of its users than any other drug; it just takes time so tobacco smokers don't start dying in large numbers until after the age of 40. And don't knock statistics--it's our only tool for measuring the extent of the drug problem and thus of knowing if we are making any progress against it.
Paul Collins February 14, 2011 at 07:28 PM
This ongoing debate associated with the arrest of the Madison High School student is simply amazing. As one can see by the number of respondents ( close to 41 replies ), there are not just a few people interested in some of issues that arise from the parent article: There have been issues addressed on parenting, education, education management, policy, drug policy, drug use in schools, drug use by people under the age of 18 and over the age of 18, to name just a few. Too, there have been expressions of concern for Cameron and his family, the school itself, its student body and so on. The points argued by respondents are well thought out and passionate - people are actually very interested in these matters, have thought about them, and feel strongly enough to write and post. Besides the occasional and unnecessary use of derogatory terms like "wack job," "nut-case," and the arbitrary use of "left-wing/right-wing, " this has been a great debate. Enjoyed it. Now, as to whether Cameron is doomed . . . hopefully not. In the Code of Virginia, Cameron being a first time (adult) drug offender, he may be eligible for 1st offender, drug offender, given probation with a deferred finding of guilt. A deferred finding is allowed by our Commonwealth Code and would dismiss the charge were Cameron to successfully complete probation. Hopefully, then, there will a happier ending of this story than initially thought.
Howard wooldridge February 14, 2011 at 07:59 PM
Speaking as a retired detective, the time taken by my colleagues to arrest one of a million pot dealers = less time for pedophiles who lurk in chat rooms - less time for those who possess child porn, etc. Police departments are shrinking all over the Commonwealth. Do you really want us to waste time on pot? In my 18 years of police service i was sent to zero-nada calls generated by the use of pot. Alcohol use generated about 1,300. The tragedy here is that the pot prohibition generated an employment opportunity. Without prohibition Cameron would have probably been working slinging burgers.
Dick Kennedy February 15, 2011 at 01:47 AM
To Paul and others--there is a lot of interest in this issue because parents (like me) are concerned about protecting our kids from drugs and other dangers. But some of us look at the facts, such as 27% of 12-graders admitting to getting drunk in the past month (plus presumably a lot more who don't want to put the admission on a paper with their name on it) and we question whether current policy is achieving the goal. Then we look around the world and see that the US has the toughest drug laws in the western world, with the strictest enforcement and harshest penalties, and yet, for almost any drug you can name, it also has the highest rate of teen drug use (the exception is alcohol, where use rates in Europe are considerably higher than ours). As for enforcement, when I retired from CIA as a European analyst in 2003, the US had more people in jail for drug crimes (over 500,000) than the EU-15, with a larger population, had in jail for any reason ( a little over 400,000). Finally we note that the drug where we've had the greatest success in reducing teen use is tobacco, and that was accomplished without arresting anyone. So it's hard to see any benefits from current policy, except, of course, to the Mexican cartels. I believe the latest US government estimate is that they get something like 2/3 of their income from pot.
Bill Taylor February 15, 2011 at 01:51 PM
Right, it is what it is. However everything is, and should, have consequences. I find it sad that some may think public embarassment by being exposed is "not very nice" Not very nice? Please. Thats why bad things happen in the dark, right? And thats why people are a little more careful when they are in full view.
Erica R. Hendry February 15, 2011 at 07:29 PM
Dear Abc Defg, We've removed your comment because it crossed the line of our comment policy. If you wish to disagree with someone, please do so respectfully. You can e-mail me to discuss this further. Thanks! Erica
Abc Defg February 15, 2011 at 07:44 PM
What is the comment policy?
Erica R. Hendry February 15, 2011 at 07:53 PM
At its simplest, nastiness, personal attacks and profanity can be removed at the discretion of the editors. There were a few comments removed earlier in this discussion for that reason. I'd be happy to discuss the specifics of your comment via e-mail. You can reach me at erica.hendry at patch.com Thanks!
Dick Kennedy February 15, 2011 at 08:15 PM
Erica--you were quite right to remove the comment, even though the poster clearly was on my side in this discussion. He/she didn't address any issues and instead just critisized another poster. I trust that everyone who has made comments has our kids' welfare at heart, but I think some of them are not well-informed about the relative dangers of different drugs.
Erica R. Hendry February 15, 2011 at 08:33 PM
Abc Defg, The issue at hand is drug use/drug trends as a whole in schools, along with this specific incident last week. If you want to ask a specific question about another incident, it should be done outside of this forum. If you'd like to ask a general question about reporting drug incidents, that would be on-topic and in line with the conversation above. Thanks for reading, Erica
Erica R. Hendry February 16, 2011 at 01:53 PM
Kevin 2252, We do not allow profanity of any kind in our comments. Your comment has been removed. If you'd like to discuss your comment further, feel free to shoot me an e-mail at erica.hendry at patch.com. Thanks for reading, Erica
Dick Kennedy February 16, 2011 at 07:11 PM
Reply to a deleted comment about problems from marijuana use: I'm very happy that you got your life back. All drugs have risks, which rational adults weigh and then decide. My choice is to avoid all of them. And kids aren't good at evaluating risk so adults have to impose rules. But the main point is that you're still alive. During the 15 years that you were strung out on pot, roughly 6 million people would have died from tobacco and roughly half a million from alcohol, so that means that there are--roughly--6 1/2 million people who would have lived if they had been using marijuana instead, because medical science can't detect any difference in death rates between pot smokers and non-smokers. Marijuana does distract a small minority of users from getting on with their lives. It also causes bronchitis and there is some evidence that it increases the chance of developing mental problems. But it has been pretty thoroughly exonerated from causing cancer (including lung cancer) or any other serious health problem, and there is far less chance of getting hooked than with alcohol or tobacco. Not to mention its medical uses--which the Virginia Nurses Association has strongly backed since 1994. For unbiased information, some good sources are the CDC, the National Institute of Drug Abuse, the National Institute of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse, and the Merck pharmaceutical company. Do NOT go to DEA or the Office of National Drug Control Policy (the "Drug Czar").
Anone E. Mous February 18, 2011 at 04:40 AM
On the topic of marijuana's overall effect on the brain...the effects are actually beneficial. (you anti-marijuana folks are not going to believe this so please read it for yourself) Marijuana has been found to stimulate neurogenesis, which is the process of new neuron growth. So marijuana actually causes you to GAIN brain cells, which is the inverse of what most people would expect. http://www.biosignaling.com/content/8/1/12 -study proving neurogenesis in the brain There have also been studies conducted on the cognitive effects cannabis users experience, basically how being high effects basic functioning capability. Such as driving or tying your shoes. It was found that "heavy" cannabis users, experience NO cognitive dysfunction, and a study in the UK even went so far as to say that people drive safer after using marijuana. (a study which I don't necessarily think applies to everyone, but is insightful all the same.) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20600251?dopt=Abstract -Cognitive abilities after using marijuana http://www.mapinc.org/newscc/v00/n1161/a02.html -UK study suggesting people are safer drivers when they're high on marijuana If you'd like to know where the cannabinoid receptors (the receptors in our body which respond to the chemicals in marijuana, called cannabinoids) are in our bodies, or would like to understand just how cannabinoids work, there was a report done by BBC on the topic which can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGKpbqXwg84
Crystal February 18, 2011 at 05:23 PM
Still I*L*L*E*G*A*L!! No matter how you want to sugar coat it!
Anone E. Mous February 18, 2011 at 05:49 PM
the founding of this country was illegal, should the founding fathers of tucked their wigs between their legs and stayed at home while the British oppressed them? Also, interestingly enough there is also strong evidence suggesting that the founding fathers smoked pot in correspondence between them and Washington's own journal.
Dick Kennedy February 18, 2011 at 07:57 PM
When I graduated from college, inter-racial marriage was illegal in Virginia and many other states. Fortunately, there were people with the courage to break that law and thus expose its irrationality and inhumanity. Finally, in 1967, the Supreme Court ruled that bans on marriage between races are unconstitutional, and Virginia was forced to change its law. I doubt that Cameron was committing an act of civil disobedience, but it is through cases such as his that people will eventually see how stupid, unfair, and counter-productive marijuana prohibition is.
Erica R. Hendry February 18, 2011 at 08:15 PM
After more than a week of lively discussion, it's time for this thread to close down. Thanks for all of your active participation. Please look for follow-up stories on these issues over the next few weeks. Erica

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