Confiscated Cannabis: Can Police Keep It?

, Posted: Sun, May 26 2013 at 9:25 PM, Updated: Mon, May 27 2013 at 9:26 AM

What happens to confiscated cannabis after a raid? Are officials keeping what isn't rightfully theirs? According to state law, officials can only seize and keep excess marijuana, but patients we spoke with say that isn't happening.
NBC 5's Jennifer Elliott reports.

Running out and out of luck.
"I didn't know what to do when my grower was raided," says Jeffrey Rogers who suffers from severe depression. He says medical marijuana keeps him from dropping into a suicidal episode.
"When I don't have the medicine it can be a potentially life threatening situation," says Rogers.

A few months ago, the property where Roger's grower was keeping his marijuana supply was raided."The law says they're only supposed to seize the amount over and above what you can legally have," says Rogers, " but they've been seizing the entire amount."

Numerous sections of  the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act require law enforcement officers to return seized marijuana to patients protected by the act. Roger's hasn't seen hide or hair of his plants. Instead he's been facing an uphill battle with the Josephine County District Attorney's office. "The District Attorney is refusing to release any of the evidence to any of the patients," comments Rogers.

In fact, in a recent email Roger's was told by Deputy D.A. Rafael Caso: "...but the state retains evidence throughout a case.
some of the marijuana rotted and was destroyed based on a court order."

He's not the only one, grower Larry Lacey says he's seen this happen before, " Hundreds, Hundreds and Hundreds."    
If plants are ever returned Lacey says they're generally dried out or rotted... the patient not reimbursed.
Here's the crux of the matter: federal law often preempts state law. Oregon Department of Justice says for officials to return marijuana they in turn would be breaking the federal Controlled Substance Act and be subject to charges.

However, just one month ago Vallejo, California police returned weed to two pot shops raided last year. "They're really just trying to make it a miserable situation for the growers and their patients," comments Rogers. He's contacted an attorney, contemplating filing a tort claim.

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