It is one of the greatest pleasures of American law enforcement to kick down the doors of the unsuspecting stoner in hopes of being given the opportunity to seize and destroy a room full of marijuana plants. While cocky cops have been getting their kicks for decades wrecking small-time cannabis operations in the name of the war on drugs, some are finding out now that their destructive actions can lead to a lawsuit.
In medical marijuana states all across the country, police responsible for ransacking legally-run homegrown weed facilities are being dragged to court by patients seeking restitution, in upwards of several millions of dollars, for their damaged or destroyed pot plants. This rightful retaliation against local cop shops often happens after a person is acquitted or prosecutors simply dismiss the charges.
Unlike the old days, law enforcement agencies can be held liable for their unruly methods of collecting evidence against suspected offenders of marijuana laws. This, of course, has caused a few police departments to revamp their “rip and let wilt” procedure when it comes to gathering pot plants as evidence. Some forces have even employed the use of photography along with a few sample clippings to keep as evidence in order to avoid the potential of having to repay patients for dead weed.
Legal experts say that as the marijuana laws continue to evolve in favor of the average homegrown stoner, law enforcement agencies are going to have no choice but to exercise a level of bedside manner when dealing with the gardens of the marijuana community. "Law enforcement is going to have to think more carefully about what their procedures are and how those procedures might need to change in light of changes in the law," Sam Kamin, a law professor at the University of Denver, recently told The Associated Press.
In Colorado, state law mandates that police departments return seized medical marijuana back to a patient once they are found not guilty or have the charges dismissed. Yet, in the state of California, even a court order does not guarantee law enforcement will actually comply. Earlier last month the Pasadena Police Department refused to return $8,000 of medical marijuana to Charles Pollard even though they were ordered to do so by the Los Angeles County Superior Court. Pollard’s attorney retaliated by filing a motion demanding the department either return the marijuana or be charged with contempt of court. The outcome of that case is still pending.
It is up to law enforcement agencies to develop standard regulations in regards to how they handle and seize marijuana plants, said a lawyer representing a $3.3 million medical marijuana dispensary case. Otherwise, the lawsuits are destined to continue.
Mike Adams writes for stoners and smut enthusiasts in HGH TIMES, Playboy’s The Smoking Jacket and Hustler Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @adamssoup and on Facebook/mikeadams73.