Grover Beach Police Chief Returns Man's Medical Marijuana

January 18, 2007

Amy Andrews, KSBY - NBC TV 6

Grover Beach city officials met tonight to decide the fate of a local man's medical marijuana. Last year, Grover Beach Police Officers pulled over Ken Parson for suspicion of DUI. Parson was not arrested on DUI charges, but his medical marijuana was confiscated because he failed to show the necessary paperwork. The police department refused to return the marijuana when Parson tried to claim it, citing it was against federal law.

Wednesday, a San Luis Obispo Superior Court judge ruled the department must return the pot or pay a $5,900 fine.

Tonight, Grover Beach city officials faced a very tough decision: follow a state court order, or follow federal law.

Grover Beach resident Ken Parson finally has his medical marijuana back.

"It's a good decision," says Parson. "It's kind of a longtime coming."

After about an hour in closed session Thursday night, the Grover Beach City Council emerged with a statement saying it would have liked to fight Wednesday's court ruling, but couldn't afford to.

"Given the potential costs of filing a suit in federal court and appealing the state courts and our limited resources, we made a decision that it's not prudent to pursue this any further," says Grover Beach Police Chief Jim Copsey.

Cheif Copsey escorted Parson to the Police Department after the meeting to return his 20 grams of pot. Parson says it was a little dry, but probably salvageable.

"Right now, it would just tear your throat right out," says Parson of the pot.

At the end of the night, it was ultimately Chief Copsey's decision to return the medical marijuana. But it wasn't an easy one.

"It was difficult in the sense that there is such a conflict between the two laws. I'm sworn to uphold both laws and both laws are a little bit different," says Copsey.

Parson is just happy the whole ordeal is finished.

"A lot of relief, 'cause I'm not worried about, 'Now what are we going to do? Are we going to federal court?' That's over."

Parson uses medical marijuana to ease severe headaches.

In 1996, California voters passed Proposition 215, legalizing marijuana. Marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

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