Imagine a place where police are forced to return seized marijuana and paraphernalia back to their rightful stoners if they are found not to be in violation of any law. That is exactly the type of environment one California lawmaker is hoping to establish for the state’s medical marijuana patients.
State Senator Noreen Evans recently introduced a measure -- Senate Bill 1193 -- that would serve as a strong arm against police agencies who set out to destroy seized marijuana regardless if it was obtained by legal means. She is proposing that state law enforcement agencies be required to reimburse falsely accused or acquitted citizens for marijuana-related items that are seized and destroyed -- including weed, plants and smoking paraphernalia.
The bill would also limit the amount of marijuana law enforcement agencies would be required to store in evidence rooms. As it stands, the law mandates police retain ten pounds of weed as well as five random samples – an expensive problem for may police departments.
Because of this clever inclusion, the bill is receiving an outpouring of support from law enforcement across the state. “Many sheriffs’ departments, particularly in rural Northern California counties, have found the storage of the “ten pound” requirement burdensome…” states a press release.
If the measure is approved, police departments would only be required to keep two pounds of marijuana along with five random samples. Supporters agree the bill could be beneficial to the economic stability of California law enforcement agencies, citing a case in San Luis Obispo where the sheriff’s department was forced reimburse a woman to the tune of $20,000 for destroying her medical marijuana.
“This bill serves the dual purposes of assisting law enforcement at a practical level with marijuana storage and securing the rights of individuals who are following the law,” said Evans. “It’s not too often we have the collaboration of peace officers and the medical marijuana industry on legislation. Clearly this bill is a solution that reflects good policy for California as we come to terms with some of the more practical and logistical concerns of medical marijuana in the state.”
Senate Bill 1193 is scheduled to go before the state Senate Appropriations Committee sometime next week.