Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Returning illegally seized medical marijuana

Here's a link to the Register's editorial last week on the California appellate court decision ordering the Garden Grove police department to return medical marijuana to a duly registered patient, given that the prosecution dropped charges. After this was written I got a return phone message from the Garden Grove city attorney saying it would be a city council decision whether or not to appeal. However, a Huntington Beach patient, in a case judicially linked to this one, was told that the police expected an appeal and would not return his medicine until an appeal had been decided.

In learning about that case from Bill Britt, I also learned of an unconscionable and almost certainly illegal campaign of harassment by the HB police (or maybe one rogue cop) against this man. He has been stopped numerous times by the police -- one cop in particular -- and accused of some bogus traffic violation, then accused of driving while intoxicated. He's spent at least one night in jail. The cop specifically says that if he's tested for marijuana it will show up even if he last smoked it a couple of weeks ago (true that metabolites will, but they're far from evidence of being intoxicated).

This looks like a case of one rogue cop trying to nullify a law he doesn't like by harassing a known patient rpoeatedly. I don't know if the chief is aware of this or approves of it. I also have anecdotal evidence of a rogue cop in another Orange County city (I think it's Fountain Valley but my notes are at the office) doing something similar. If they can't seize their medicine, they'll just keep harassing them by charging them with driving while intoxicated. Anybody encountering such harassment should, if charged with alcohol intoxication, demand to have a breatalyzer test on the machine at the station and see the printout. Those machines aren't all that reliable, but the devices they use for field sobriety checks are notoriously unreliable, and I'm not sure they can even be used in court.

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