A Miami man arrested for marijuana while playing Pokémon Go beat the charges after police failed to send the right paperwork to prosecutors.
Phil Blakney, 25, made the news last month just as the Nintendo’s “augmented reality” game was exploding in popularity.
According to Miami police, an officer pulled over Blakney in July as he was trolling suspiciously through the parking lot of the Pelican Harbor boat ramp just after midnight. Blakney admitted he was there looking to catch the virtual Pokémon characters.
A cloud of marijuana smoke billowed out of the car when Blakney rolled down his window, and officers found a bag of marijuana inside, according to an arrest report.
Miami police arrested Blakney on charges of possession a controlled substance, and possessing drug paraphernalia. An arraignment hearing to formally charge him was scheduled for Friday.
But according to a Miami-Dade State Attorney’s spokesman, police did not send the proper documents to prosecutors. “Certainly, if the officers send the paperwork, we will look at filing the case,” spokesman Ed Griffith said.
Blakney could not be reached for comment. Court records do not list a defense lawyer.
'Pokémon Go' is a free app that is part of the popular franchise that includes other videos games, a TV show and trading cards. The app allows players, with their camera, to "catch" over 100 virtual characters in real public spaces.
But the explosion of people wandering around in public, their eyes glued to their phones, has caused concern with authorities, who warn that gamers aren't paying attention to their surroundings, particularly while driving.
The game has also caused concerns about users wandering into inappropriate or restricted spaces. Officials at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., have warned users to not play there out of respect.