Despite a recent court order, Pasadena police have flat-out refused to hand over a significant amount of medical marijuana seized from a local resident, out of erroneous concerns that they might suffer the wrath of prosecution under federal law. A motion against the department has since been filed, which could result in officers being held in contempt of court as well as serving some jail time.
The Los Angeles County Superior Court recently set forth a motion ordering the Pasadena Police Department to return over $8,000 worth of medical marijuana belonging to Charles Pollard, which was confiscated at his home during a recent police search. However, the police department has retaliated against the judge’s demands by filing a motion to challenge the order.
“There were rumors in LA County for some time the cops are going to start ignoring judges orders, and I thought they would never have the guts to do that,” Pollard’s attorney David Diamond recently told HIGH TIMES. “All of us, law enforcement included, are obligated to follow a judge’s orders. Without any doubt or uncertainty, the judge’s order was: return this medical marijuana.”
The incident, which led to this shrouded debacle chomped down by the overbite of the law, stems from what Diamond said is referred to as a “probation compliance search,” in which authorities randomly beat down the doors of people on probation in an attempt to catch them in a violation. “If people are on probation they’ve given up certain constitutional rights, meaning if you are on probation you can be searched, basically, at any time,” said Diamond. “Sometimes what they do is go to parts of the city or parts of the town where, because of socioeconomic factors there might be more people on probation.”
Although Pollard was not home when the police arrived to give him a shakedown, a girl staying at the residence let them in, which led to officers finding Pollard’s California medical marijuana recommendation and a sizeable amount of cannabis they claim was out in the open. Because he was not home, “the conditions of the probation search should not and did not apply to him,” said Diamond. “But in speaking with the woman of the house they were able to politely push their way in, and then they claim they saw the marijuana in plain view.”
The police then waited for Pollard to come home, where they arrested him on the spot.
Pollard’s arrest poses an interesting question: does medical marijuana constitute a probation violation? Diamond says California judges are ruling both ways. “There are judges who, as a term and condition of probation, they’ll prohibit people from using medical marijuana, and there are judges who, I think, more appropriately say, “You know what, voters passed the law, and even though you’re on probation I’m going to let you use your medicine as you see fit,” he said. "It’s really up to each particular judge.”
In Pollard’s case, the judge found his possession of nearly twenty-five ounces of medical marijuana in compliance with his probation agreement and with state law, which led to a dismissal of the charges. “He had a lawful recommendation and there was no conviction for drugs,” said Diamond. “That’s the reason the judge decided to return the marijuana.”
The motion, which is scheduled to go before the same judge next week, requests that the Pasadena Police Department fulfill their obligation to the original order by returning Pollard’s medical marijuana immediately. Otherwise, council seeks a fine, sanctions and jail time for any officer who refuses to adhere.
Diamond told HIGH TIMES that he has been hearing about these types of sandbag injustices happening all across the state, which is exactly why he is itching to deal with this blatant overstep of power being displayed by the Pasadena Police Department.
“I’ve seen it before with Burbank Police Department, now we’re seeing it with Pasadena,” he said. “I have heard from other colleagues that the sheriff’s department in the Lancaster area has done it a few times, but its starting to spread a little bit, and that’s why we need to stop it before it gets too out of control, like a plague of noncompliance.”
“Every law enforcement officer takes an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the state of California, and they’re violating their oath,” he continued. “They’re also forcing the City Attorney to litigate this at extreme cost, so it’s a waste of money in a time when municipalities and government agencies are claiming to be broke. It’s an enormous waste of resources, an enormous waste of time, an enormous waste of money and an enormous waste of common sense.”
Diamond says the word on the street is regardless of the judge’s decision next Thursday, the city attorney does not intend to comply with the order, which “will open up a new can of worms” in the form of a lawsuit. “At some point the marijuana is going to have no value anymore, and if the police sit on it or destroy it, he’s out quite a bit of money,” he said. “And that’s something the police should be responsible for.”
Mike Adams writes for stoners and smut enthusiasts in High Times, Playboy’s The Smoking Jacket and Hustler Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @adamssoup and on Facebook/mikeadams73.