Californians want their marijuana back

August 16, 2004

Adam Tanner, Reuters

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A group of 38 California medical marijuana patients have filed legal motions asking the federal government to give them back their pot worth nearly a million dollars.

The move was the latest legal fight over medical marijuana, which state voters approved in 1996 but which federal law deems an illegal drug.

'We've discovered a culture of resistance within law enforcement,' said Kris Hermes, legal coordinator for Americans for Safe Access, a pro-medical marijuana group, on Tuesday. 'Many agencies across the state just don't comply with the law. Patients are being arrested or having their medicine seized in nearly every police encounter.'

The group filed a series of motions in California courts seeking a return of the marijuana valued at $970,000 (618,000 million pounds). Failing the return of the plants, they seek cash compensation.

Earlier this summer the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review whether the law outlawing marijuana applies to medical use by two seriously ill California women whose doctors recommended cannabis for their pain.

State Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger backs medical marijuana and smoked a joint on film in the 1970s bodybuilding documentary 'Pumping Iron'. Last month however he vetoed a bill that would have eased rules on how much medical marijuana patients could possess.

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