No new hearing on judge's pot-returning ruling

January 31, 2007

Jeremy Hay, Santa Rosa Press Democrat

A judge Wednesday said he wouldn't hold an early hearing to reconsider his Jan. 17 order that the Santa Rosa Police Department return marijuana to a man whom prosecutors agreed was a medical marijuana patient and caregiver.

 

The police have refused, saying it is prohibited from doing so under federal law, which doesn't recognize medical use of marijuana.

Judge Lawrence Antolini said the issue can be taken up March 6 at a hearing to which the Police Department has been summoned to explain why it shouldn't be held in contempt of court.

 

Antolini last month ordered the department to return about 18 pounds of marijuana to Shashon Jenkins, 26, who Santa Rosa narcotics detectives arrested in October.

 

Prosecutors last month dropped the case against Jenkins after his public defender provided evidence that he was a medical marijuana user and caregiver as defined by California's Compassionate Use Act, which voters approved in 1996, authorizing medical use of marijuana.

 

On Wednesday, Assistant Santa Rosa City Attorney Mike Casey, representing the Police Department, requested a hearing to re-examine Antolini's order before the scheduled March 6 hearing.

 

Antolini, in turning down the request, said a conflict between federal and state law was becoming unavoidable.

 

``Many years ago we would all have sat down in chambers and talked this over,'' he said. ``But right now, we have two trains heading at each other on the same track, and I'm not going to take it off the track because I didn't put them on it.

 

``I'm not looking to make a cause celebre,'' he said, ``or to make a statement here, I'm looking for direction.''

 

Casey replied, ``Unfortunately, I don't think we're going to get that.''

 

You can reach Staff Writer Jeremy Hay at 521-5212 or jeremy.hay@pressdemocrat.com.

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