Police Ordered to Return Legally Possessed Marijuana

November 28, 2007

Monica Comersan, eFlux Media

California state law allows the possession of prescribed marijuana for medicinal purposes in amounts of less than eight ounces.

In 2005, Felix Kha was stopped by police in Garden Grove after passing a red sign stop. When asked if he was in the possession of any illegal substances, Kha declared that he had on him marijuana prescribed to him by a doctor for the treatment of chronic pain.
The police confiscated the marijuana quantity that Kha possessed, of about a quarter of an ounce and then cited him for possession of marijuana and a traffic violation.

This Wednesday, a three-judge panel from the state’s Fourth District Court of Appeals decided that the federal drugs law and the California state law don’t conflict and the federal law isn’t broken by police returning the marijuana to its legal owner.

Back in 2005, Mr. Kha pleaded guilty for running a stop sign but asked the judge to return his marijuana as he presented the doctor’s prescription for it. After the doctor’s note was authenticated, the judge gave Mr. Kha permission to retrieve his marijuana from the police.

But, when Mr. Kha presented the Garden Grove Police Department the court order to return his marijuana, the police refused to follow it. The Garden Grove Police took the case to appeals court, where it remained until this Wednesday.

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