Pubdate: Tue, 06 May 2014
Source: Redwood Times (Garberville, CA)
Copyright: 2014 MediaNews Group


A bill to assist police while protecting the rights of individuals 
who legally possess medical marijuana was applauded last week by both 
law enforcement and the medical marijuana industry as it gained 
unanimous passage out of the Senate Public Safety Committee. Senate 
Bill 1193 by senator Noreen Evans next moves to the Senate 
Appropriations Committee for consideration. Current law requires law 
enforcement agencies to retain as evidence ten pounds of confiscated 
marijuana, along with five random samples. Many sheriffs' 
departments, particularly in rural northern California counties, have 
found the storage of the "ten pound" requirement burdensome in two 
ways. First, the storage space alone is troublesome and expensive. 
Second, peace officers working in evidence facilities may be subject 
to unknown pesticides and chemicals used in illegal grows in addition 
to the likelihood of evidence spoiling creating molds and mildews 
posing further health risks.

"This bill serves the dual purposes of assisting law enforcement at a 
practical level with marijuana storage and securing the rights of 
individuals who are following the law," said Evans (D-Santa Rosa). 
"It's not too often we have the collaboration of peace officers and 
the medical marijuana industry on legislation. Clearly this bill is a 
solution that reflects good policy for California as we come to terms 
with some of the more practical and logistical concerns of medical 
marijuana in the state."

Senate Bill 1193 would reduce the quantity of seized marijuana that a 
law enforcement agency must keep in their possession from ten pounds 
to two pounds and allows for the defense of the accused to inspect 
the property before the destruction. SB 1193 further clarifies that 
upon dismissal or acquittal in a case where medical marijuana 
property has been destroyed, a defendant is entitled to reasonable 
compensation for their property.

"Representing medical marijuana providers, our association is 
impressed by senator Evans' ability to craft a bill that 
simultaneously promotes the health of peace officers, the evidentiary 
rights of defendants, and the property rights of bona-fide medical 
marijuana patients," said Nate Bradley, executive director of 
California Cannabis Industry Association.

Both the Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC) 
and the Drug Policy Alliance testified in support of the legislation. 
The bill received bipartisan support from committee members.

"This is a solid public policy that respects the health and safety of 
law enforcement officers while respecting the rights of individuals 
who follow California's medical marijuana laws," said senior deputy 
Mike Durant, PORAC president. "This bill represents a practical and 
logical solution to the realistic issues agencies across the state face daily."
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom