Patients Seek Return of Pot

August 16, 2004

Bay City News Service, SF Gate

(08-17) 11:47 PST -- A Berkeley-based medical marijuana group today announced a statewide campaign of court filings that seek the return of about $1 million worth of seized marijuana.

The motions claim illegal seizures and are expected to be filed in 36 California counties, including 10 counties in the Bay Area, according to William Dolphin, an Americans for Safe Access spokesman.

ASA has fielded scores of calls in recent months from patients who claimed they had their marijuana improperly seized, according to ASA executive director Steph Sherer.

Proposition 215, passed by voters in 1996, allows the use of the narcotic for medical purposes.

Medical marijuana activists at a news conference this morning said that law enforcement agencies in recent years have refused to return marijuana, even after criminal charges have been dismissed.

Anthony Bowles, a San Francisco resident, planned to file a motion in San Francisco Superior Court this morning seeking the return of 3.5 grams of marijuana seized by the California Highway Patrol on May 5, according to the motion.

He said that his ill mother required the plant for medical reasons.

The return of seized medical marijuana is mandated by state law and is not up for interpretation by local law enforcement agencies, Sherer said.

'They either need to obey the law or apply for a job in Utah,'' she said.

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