Medical marijuana patients are being forced to file Motions for Return of Property to reclaim their marijuana

August 17, 2004

, News-Medical.Net

A report on law enforcement violations of the rights of medical marijuana patients in California was released Monday, August 16. The three-month study found local and state law enforcement is routinely seizing the marijuana to which California patients are legally entitled – and not giving it back.

The ASA study found property and rights violations in more than half the counties in the state.

Even the California Highway Patrol has seized marijuana from authorized patients and refused to return it. Most law enforcement agencies in California do not have policies for identifying patients legally entitled to have marijuana.

“The law protects these patients,” said the group’s legal coordinator, Kris Hermes. “But we’ve uncovered a culture of resistance within law enforcement. Patients are being arrested or having their medicine seized in nearly every police encounter.”

Medical marijuana patients are being forced to file Motions for Return of Property to reclaim their marijuana. If the marijuana has been destroyed or damaged, local government is responsible for compensating patients for the property lost. The value of the marijuana sought Tuesday is nearly $1 million. Estimated annual cost of compensating patients for marijuana seized is more than $4 million.

“Losing their medicine is obviously hard on the patients,” said Hermes. “But it’s also costing taxpayers money. Better law enforcement policies, or any policies at all, can fix this.”



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