City Pays $15,000 To Cover Lost Pot

  City Pays $15,000 To Cover Lost Pot

Posted by CN Staff on April 14, 2006 at 10:09:58 PT
By Susan McDonough, Staff Writer 
Source: Oakland Tribune 

California -- The city of Emeryville paid $15,000 this week to a medical marijuana patient whose marijuana and growing equipment went up in smoke while in police possession. James Blair was arrested in December 2003 on charges of growing 30 pot plants in his Emeryville loft. Police confiscated the plants and an assortment of growing equipment, including two high-voltage lights, fans, pumps and timers.
Charges against Blair, who was partially paralyzed 11 years ago in a diving accident, eventually were dropped, and in April 2004 a judge ordered police to return Blair's possessions, including the pot. But when Blair, 46, appeared at police headquarters to reclaim his belongings, he was turned away and disappointed. It seems most of Blair's things were stolen when a police storage unit was burglarized in February 2004. Police returned what was left of Blair's pot plants, but his high-intensity growing lights and other belongings, including the buds from his 30 pot plants, were gone. Police say the items were taken from a locked cage inside the city's public works building. No arrests have been made in the burglary, Sgt. Lajuan Collier said Thursday. Lawyers for Blair and police settled on the $15,000 compensation for the loss in January. Blair received the money this week. He said Wednesday that the money will help him start cultivating again. He has been buying marijuana from local cannabis clubs since his arrest, he said. Medical marijuana advocates say they are pleased with the settlement, among the largest to date, and they hope having to pay punitive damages will encourage police departments to show more leniency with medical marijuana patients. "That's really all we wanted is for people to cultivate their medicine in peace," Americans for Safe Access advocate Hillary McQuie said. The California Highway Patrol relaxed its policy regarding medical marijuana in September because of litigation and recent opinions from the state attorney general's office. Where CHP officers once seized marijuana from motorists without eligibility cards from the state Department of Health Services, officers now accept identification cards from cities and counties or a signed recommendation from a doctor, as long as they possess no more than the legal limit, typically 8 ounces. Emeryville police Chief Ken James said his department will continue deciding how to handle medical marijuana users on a case-by-case basis. "Within our 1.2 square miles, it's not a priority to go out enforcing marijuana laws," hesaid. James said his department has always followed the law, which says arrest first and let the courts decide whether the use is medicinal or not, although he acknowledged it makes no sense to arrest users if officers have knowledge of a doctor's recommendation or ID card, in which case the district attorney probably will not press charges. If medical marijuana users have the state-issued card, they cannot be arrested, James said. Note: Emeryville man reimbursed for plants, equipment stolen from cops while in evidence. Source: Oakland Tribune, The (CA)Author:  Susan McDonough, Staff WriterPublished: April 14, 2006Copyright: 2006 MediaNews Group, Inc. and ANG NewspapersContact: triblet angnewspapers.comWebsite: For Safe Access Medical Marijuana Archives

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Comment #6 posted by OverwhelmSam on April 17, 2006 at 15:00:13 PT
Sign of the Times.
It's great to see a municipality get burnt for enforcing pot laws. Needs to happen more often.
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Comment #5 posted by lombar on April 15, 2006 at 22:35:16 PT
Wake up eh?
"Police say the items were taken from a locked cage inside the city's public works building."The citizens are getting their noses rubbed in it. If the police cannot control drugs in their possession how can they ever hope to do it in the world?Happy Easter!
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on April 15, 2006 at 11:41:20 PT
Global National: Canadian Medical Marijuana
Medical Marijuana Users Forced to Black Market
 Saturday, April 15, 2006 
WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- Winnipeg is home to Canada's only legal supply of pot. It's grown, picked and dried in the bottom of an old Manitoba mine for people like Michael Day.Thanks to the pot he's the picture of health, but his health card is not helping him much."I have a tumor wrapped around the right eye and cancer going up into the brain. I've tried everything and the cannabis seems to work the best"But recently his supply has been cut off.He can't pay the 14,000 dollar bill he owes Health Canada, but he doesn't really want what the government grows anyway. "Its not very good, you can cook with it, which is what I do to manage my cancer."Patients with no way to pay and questionable quality are just a few of the problems plaguing what's Canada's Medicial Marijuana access program.The program came about as a court order, not an act of compassion from the government and what we're seeing is the fallout of that.Only 1,300 Canadians are registered with the program that has cost tax payers $23 million to set up and more patients are relying on compassion clubs than the government.Phillipe Lucas is one of those that has set up a compassion club."Compassion clubs are serving more people than Health Canada, we're creating a better supply than Health Canada. And we're doing more legitimate research than Health Canada and we're doing all of this at no cost to the tax payer."Global National has learned through a federal access to information request that one-third of cannabis purchased by 2004 was returned. Lucas says it's simply because it's poor quality. While Valerie Lasher of the Medical Marijuana Access program disagrees."The quality is second to none, it's tested it's consistent."In fact, his compassion club has been growing it's own and he says that this is how it compares to what Health Canada is providing that it's routinely of lower potency than what's labelled on package."What they've done is taken these aids patients, these cancer patients these really sick and suffering folks back to the black market."Health Canada say it is taking another look at the program, potentially making pot available through the pharmacy, which for now is a last resort for their marijuana therapy.Copyright: Global National 2006
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Comment #3 posted by mayan on April 15, 2006 at 04:10:45 PT
Cop Heads
The cops should have to pay out of their own pockets instead of the taxpayer's footing the bill. I bet the cops got stoned out of their gourds. Mister Donut was probably packed!
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Comment #2 posted by OverwhelmSam on April 14, 2006 at 13:56:55 PT
Keep on suing governments at the city, state and federal levels. Make them bleed money at the seams for enforcing marijuana laws. If they want the country to go down the tubes on ignorant principle, then let's have another depression. LOL
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Comment #1 posted by whig on April 14, 2006 at 12:20:57 PT
Inside job
Police say the items were taken from a locked cage inside the city's public works building.No arrests have been made in the burglary, Sgt. Lajuan Collier said Thursday.What are they going to do, arrest themselves?
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