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SLO police relinquish marijuana 

On Sept. 21, San Luis Obispo police executed the county's first return of medical marijuana by court order since patient Donovan No Runner won his property back in 2002.

click to enlarge NO WORSE FOR THE WEAR :  For patient Ben Breschini, a bag in hand is better than two in the contraband locker. The Cal Poly student, who challenged police to return his medical pot after prosecutors dropped possession charges, received a slightly dry but smokable stash. - PHOTO BY JESSE ACOSTA
  • PHOTO BY JESSE ACOSTA
  • NO WORSE FOR THE WEAR : For patient Ben Breschini, a bag in hand is better than two in the contraband locker. The Cal Poly student, who challenged police to return his medical pot after prosecutors dropped possession charges, received a slightly dry but smokable stash.

# Cal Poly student Ben Breschini walked into headquarters at the intersection of Santa Rosa and Walnut and left with a bag containing 45.7 grams of dried cannabis. Judge Dodie Harman signed the order on Aug. 23, requiring the police to pull the pot out of the contraband storage lockers.

Several patients and caregivers including Morro Bay dispensary operator Charles C. Lynch arrived with a show of support as the six-month-old case finally came to an end.

"Patients shouldn't have to go through this," a demure Breschini commented.

Police chief Deborah Linden, who formally opposed the motion, was vacationing when the department executed the order and wasn't available to comment for this report. The supervising officer didn't respond to requests for an interview.


Police confiscated the property at the time of Breschini's arrest and refused to return it after felony possession charges sputtered out a common practice in these cases. Two local city attorneys, representing their municipal departments, challenged motions to return medical marijuana this year on the belief that such an order required officers to break federal drug laws.

One case recently went to the local appellate, where, if the three-judge body chooses to overturn the court's original ruling not to return the marijuana, the decision would become case law in the county. The City of San Luis Obispo said that it decided not to pursue an appeal with Breschini since such a similar case already rests on the docket.

Arguing for the return-of-property motion in both cases, attorney Lou Koory suggested that the city lacked the legal standing to push the litigation any further up the ladder of appeals.

 

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