Do Cops Have To Return Medical Marijuana Plants That They Take?
I have many friends who have had run ins with law enforcement which resulted in law enforcement taking their medical marijuana plants. When the cases went to trial, most of these friends were acquitted of all charges. In the process, the plants that were torn out by their roots had long since died. There are cases of this happening in almost every medical marijuana state in America.
The victims who had their medical marijuana plants wrongfully confiscated have the right to sue to get their property back, and if it’s damaged or destroyed, to sue for damages. Per the Green Field Reporter:
Whether or not state laws require, as they do in Colorado, police to return medical marijuana intact if a suspect isn’t charged or is acquitted, departments have been sued over pot that has wilted in their evidence lockers.
In Colorado Springs, a cancer patient who had faced drug charges is suing police after 55 dead plants were returned to him. The state appeals court had to order the police to return them.
Medical dispensary owner Alvida Hillery sued police to return her 604 pot plants or pay $3.3 million after she was acquitted of drug-cultivation charges. She dropped the suit in exchange for a city dispensary license.
Police departments who take first and ask questions later should be held accountable. Taking finished product is one thing – it can be given back after trial. However, taking living, breathing plants should be a last resort, and if the cops can’t keep them alive, they shouldn’t be taken at all. It’s very difficult to put a price tag on a medical marijuana plant, so restoring the confiscation victim to where they were prior to destroying the plants is very difficult.