Santa Rosa police refuse to release medical marijuana

January 29, 2007

Associated Press, Mercury News (CA)

Police officers who refused to return 18 pounds of marijuana to a man who used it as medicine could be held in contempt of court for disobeying a Sonoma County judge.

Superior Court Judge Lawrence Antolini ordered police to appear in court March 6 to explain why they shouldn't be held in contempt of court for refusing to follow his order.

Officers seized the marijuana from Shashon Jenkins, 26, after his arrest in October, but a prosecutor dropped the case after a defense lawyer produced evidence in court that he's a medical marijuana user and caregiver. The order from the judge followed.

But officers have refused because they said federal law, which doesn't recognize medical marijuana use, prohibits them from returning Jenkins' cannabis.

"We're not a dispensary, we're not going to give out marijuana," said Sgt. Eric Litchfield, who supervises the detectives who arrested Jenkins. "It's illegal."

Such showdowns have become familiar since California voters in 1996 passed Proposition 215, which authorized medical use of marijuana.

"The issue really is the conflict between federal law and our state and local laws," said Amy Chapman, Jenkins' public defender.

Information from: The Press Democrat,

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