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Calif. Highway Patrol Won't Seize Medical Pot

Excellent news for medical marijuana patients in California:

The new policy, by the California Highway Patrol, states that an "individual is to be released and the marijuana is not to be seized" if the person qualifies under state law to possess marijuana for medicinal purposes. It also says that officers "shall not conduct traffic enforcement stops for the primary purpose of drug interdiction" involving the authorized use of medical marijuana.

A similar policy seems to be underway in Denver where police have agreed not to charge a medical pot patient on whom marijuana was found - and to return the pot to him.

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  • Re: Calif. Highway Patrol Won't Seize Medical Pot (none / 0) (#5)
    by desertswine on Tue Aug 30, 2005 at 11:11:51 AM EST
    A little sanity is a welcome change.

    Re: Calif. Highway Patrol Won't Seize Medical Pot (none / 0) (#6)
    by Patrick on Tue Aug 30, 2005 at 11:28:57 AM EST
    Boy I bet this gets Patricks goat...
    I think it's Patrick's goat (with an apostrope), but who really cares, and who wants my goat anyway? Johnny, I hate to agree with Paul on anything, but all this really means is the California Highway Patrol is following a law. In fact this law was passed in 1996, so it took only 9 years for the CHP to make it their policy. That's excellent news? My position on medical marijuana is no secret as is my position on recreational legalization. This doesn't get my goat. Besides, anyone really wanting to push it can find a grey area in California's law to still seize marijuana despite medical claims. You'll just get sued which usually happens anyway. Disclaimer, I was just having fun with the apostrophe thing, so don't everyone rush to grade my written work like usual.

    Re: Calif. Highway Patrol Won't Seize Medical Pot (none / 0) (#7)
    by roy on Tue Aug 30, 2005 at 11:33:35 AM EST
    Funny. CHP returns pot, but the cops in Texas wouldn't return my ammunition after a traffic accident. (No offense intended to the cops who helped so much that day -- I just like irony)

    Roy, Interesting point. By federal law, cops can't return firearms or ammunition until the owner goes through a background check.

    This is in-line with what California's attorney general has commented upon after the Raich decision. (i.e, that Raich only dealt with federal authorities' ability to arrest/seize medical pot under the federal controlled substances act and that the Sup. Ct. decision did not invalidate the state medical marijuana law - the feds can trump it if they so choose.) Does anybody else think it is kinda odd that the state that most people view as the countries "liberal" bastion is actually becoming a leader on a classic conservative issue with its position and adherence on federalism and state's rights? Added to the irony, the sup ct.'s liberal majority opinion gave cali the thumbs down and now the "liberal" californians are giving the sup ct's liberal justices the middle finger up!! HAHAHA. Perhaps this will make people realize that in a two party system such as ours - over broad generalizations of what it is to be left or right dont always play out in the real world. Perhaps the california government is just putting the liberty back into liberalism. Or their just relying on the fact that the voters voted for this - so it is their duty to listen to and apply the people's mandate. Either way, God bless 'em all. When will Chicago follow the lead??

    "Posted by Anonymous: By federal law, cops can't return firearms or ammunition until the owner goes through a background check." UNLESS they are terrorists. In which case they just flash their John Aschroft Get Out of Jail Free card, and they are on their way. All records are to be destroyed, and if the terrorists want, they can stop by the PD and take whatever they want from the seized materials lockers. Helping terrorists keep their gun rights, one cell at a time.

    Re: Calif. Highway Patrol Won't Seize Medical Pot (none / 0) (#12)
    by Patrick on Tue Aug 30, 2005 at 02:24:56 PM EST
    I think the federal/state issue has already been decided. Medical can't be prosecuted at state level, but can at federal level. Take your chances. What I've seen is "legitimate" medical growers and even some less than legitimate (Which seems redundant) medical growers who keep their crops at a reasonable level are not being prosecuted regardless of the thier true status. There's one guy in California who was growing something like 50,000 plants and claiming it was medical. Well that guy is getting prosecuted, and deservedly so.

    Re: Calif. Highway Patrol Won't Seize Medical Pot (none / 0) (#13)
    by Patrick on Tue Aug 30, 2005 at 02:54:10 PM EST
    BTW, California Vehicle Code Section 23222(b) still says it's illegal to possess marijuana in a motor vehicle. So there ya go. If you want it, you can still take it. I personally wouldn't waste the time, nor would I encourage my people to do so either, but there it is. Black letter law.

    Re: Calif. Highway Patrol Won't Seize Medical Pot (none / 0) (#14)
    by squeaky on Tue Aug 30, 2005 at 02:58:35 PM EST
    Pat-I guess you can throw California Vehicle Code Section 23222(b) on the old heap of 'blue laws' now.

    Re: Calif. Highway Patrol Won't Seize Medical Pot (none / 0) (#15)
    by Patrick on Tue Aug 30, 2005 at 04:45:54 PM EST
    Squeaky, I wouldn't be so sure. It's still illegal to possess an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle, the same logic holds true for marijuana no? Certainly you don't support people DWB?(That's of course driving while baked)

    Not quite, Patrick: (b) Except as authorized by law, every person who possesses, while driving a motor vehicle upon a highway or on lands, as described in subdivision (b) of Section 23220, not more than one avoirdupois ounce of marijuana, other than concentrated cannabis as defined by Section 11006.5 of the Health and Safety Code, is guilty of a misdemeanor... Only the driver is barred. If their passenger has it and the legal proof of a medical waiver, the driver would appear to be neither in possession nor in violation.

    No problem Patrick. I just don't know how you stand on the fed/state issue that is going to come up. I never get weirded out about grammar, I am no grammar nazi but I realize that for some people it is a last resort weapon (not directed at you btw).

    Re: Calif. Highway Patrol Won't Seize Medical Pot (none / 0) (#18)
    by Patrick on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 08:02:31 AM EST
    God, I can't read. But still the driver doesn't appear to barred if they hold a valid medical recommendation.

    Re: Calif. Highway Patrol Won't Seize Medical Pot (none / 0) (#17)
    by Patrick on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 08:03:06 AM EST
    Paul, Actually it would seem we are both wrong. I went to the latest published CVC and 23222(b) now starts with the caveat, "Except as authorized by law".

    Re: Calif. Highway Patrol Won't Seize Medical Pot (none / 0) (#19)
    by libdevil on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 08:19:53 AM EST
    Out of curiosity, what happens in this scenario: CHP pulls a guy over for speeding, sees a bag of weed on the front seat. Picks it up, asks the driver, "What's this?" Driver produces medical papers and cop gives him back his drug. Is the cop now open to federal prosecution as a drug trafficer?

    RE: Libdevil That's a very good question. The one I bet they are more worried about is CHP pulls someone over, sees the weed, gets the documentation, gives it back and then the guy/girl drives a few miles gets in an auto accident that kills four people. Imagine the parties to the tort suit?? As far as the cop being guilty of drug trafficking - - i would think he would be under some form of governmental immunity or something - since he is a cop who has to uphold his state's law. Which coincidentally might be the same defense to being sued in civil court. Now if you change the facts slightly and the guy in the car has a LOAD of weed (more and above what california law permits) and the officer lets the guy go on his merry way (with or without medical authorization being shown) and it becomes a more convuluted situation. Arguments could be made on both sides. I would think however that the federal coppers wouldn't arrest their state counterpart unless it was very egregious. ALthough a turf war between CHP and DEA and FBI would be interesting. Dare I say Supercalitroopers.

    Re: Calif. Highway Patrol Won't Seize Medical Pot (none / 0) (#21)
    by Patrick on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 04:06:03 PM EST
    Is the cop now open to federal prosecution as a drug trafficker?
    The short answer is no.
    That's a very good question. The one I bet they are more worried about is CHP pulls someone over, sees the weed, gets the documentation, gives it back and then the guy/girl drives a few miles gets in an auto accident that kills four people. Imagine the parties to the tort suit??
    Once again, unless the driver was under the influence, a separate offense, there's no law enforcement liability, but that really has never mattered, they'd be sued anyway. As for the load of weed scenario, there, depending on the officer's state of mind and the reasons for taking no action he is either guilty of laziness, dereliction or criminal conspiracy.

    These speculations are HILARIOUS. Recall that the head of the CHP testified four years ago that cellphones had no impact on vehicle accidents. A month after CA's bill banning use of handheld cellphones went down in flames, he came out and said that he had mispoke -- there was a FORTY PERCENT increase in vehicle accidents associated with cellphones. Now, years later, with semitruck drivers on down addicted to handheld cellphones, the CHP officers I've talked with have said that the situation is nearly out of control on the highways. Cannabis is not the problem. It is possible that someone on cannabis will be MORE alert than someone who is straight, and not paying attention due to a phonecall from their girlfriend. Corporate profits from the phone companies have ended many, many happy lives on our highways, and the THOUSANDS of Mexican semitrucks Bush has NAFTA'd on us (and you) will be causing many, many more deaths and tangles on our roadways. Btw, if you haven't seen The Big Lebowski, you missed one of the most humorous depictions of cannabis smokers in the history of cinema -- WITH a car crash.

    Re: Calif. Highway Patrol Won't Seize Medical Pot (none / 0) (#1)
    by cpinva on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:56 PM EST
    it'll be interesting to see how the DEA and DOJ respond to this, since ahnald is a personal friend of gw.

    Re: Calif. Highway Patrol Won't Seize Medical Pot (none / 0) (#2)
    by Johnny on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:56 PM EST
    Boy I bet this gets Patricks goat... On the other hand, it kind of gets my goat. Why on Earth do only people with "medical" reasons get a free pass?

    This is in line with what I have heard from CHP vis-a-vis 'banner drops' (protests at freeway overpasses). The CHP supervisor said that the CHP 'wanted to be on the right side of this when it is all over.' They 'don't want to infringe on the people's rights to protest,' and several officers have confided that they entirely support our protest activities. In other words, they don't see a reason to hitch their professional operation to Bush's moral-hobo Clown Circus. The evidence is that professionals know how unprofessional this whole terrible coup is. And Bushliar has worked hard to make the people dislike him -- with his 340+ days of vacation time, his out of control economy rape, his total gibberish on Iraq, and his "business in liquidation" approach to the environment.

    Johnny: "Why on Earth do only people with "medical" reasons get a free pass?" Because California voters passed an initiative that the California Supreme Court affirmed, which creates that class of protected users. So the CHP is following state law. What a freakin' surprise.