Pubdate: Sat, 15 Jan 2000
Source: Redding Record Searchlight (CA)
Copyright: 2000 Redding Record Searchlight - E.W. Scripps
Contact:  PO Box 492397, Redding, CA 96049-2397
Author: Alex Breitler


Judge Clarifies Previous Order

Medical marijuana user Richard Levin will get his pot back after all.

Shasta County Superior Court Judge Bradley Boeckman said Friday that
sheriff's officials must return the marijuana, according to sheriff's Capt.
Ron Richardson. The judge last week ordered the ``release'' of Levin's 41
plants -- now long dead -- and 1 pounds of marijuana.

That order didn't specify whether the plants would have to be returned to
Levin. Sheriff's Department officials had said Thursday they wanted to know
whether they could destroy the pot. But Boeckman decided it must be
returned, Richardson said.

``Our intention is to do that,'' he said. ``Probably ... early next week.''

Levin, 49, of Redding, was acquitted in December by a Shasta County jury on
charges of growing marijuana for sale. Levin declined to comment Friday on
Boeckman's action, but earlier this week he said he's entitled to the
marijuana plants seized by officials when he was arrested in May 1998.

``The law is very clear,'' Levin said Tuesday. ``It (the marijuana) should
be given back.''

Friday's decision ended an up-and-down week for Levin. On Monday, he learned
of the court order requiring the release of the plants, pot and three
firearms seized during the 1998 raid.

On Tuesday, the firearms were returned, but sheriff's officials kept the
pot, saying they needed to be sure it would be legal to hand it over to

By Thursday, a hearing had been tentatively set for next week to decide the
issue, but Boeckman called a special hearing Friday to resolve the issue,
Richardson said.

While the Sheriff's Department feared returning Levin's marijuana would
violate federal law, Richardson said officials decided to comply with the
order rather than become entangled in more court delays.

Richardson said the Sheriff's Department will look to the state for
clarification of Proposition 215, the 1996 law that permits medicinal
marijuana use with a doctor's permission, but does not set a limit on the
amount of marijuana patients can possess.

``Our position is that we're going to seek some legislative help to see if
we can't get clarification on the law,'' he said.
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