Wednesday, May 26, 2010

County pays $20,000 to replace medical marijuana

In yet another black mark against the current sheriff's
administration, San Luis Obispo County cut a $20,000 check on Monday to
a medical marijuana user whose cannabis was wrongfully destroyed.

In what appears to be the first time a government body has reimbursed a
medical marijuana user for destroying their cannabis, the county paid
46-year-old Kimberly Marshall the equivalent of $3,333 per pound, the
replacement value for this specially grown outdoor strain.

In a request for prosecution that was ultimately rejected by the county
district attorney's office, Sheriff's Deputy David Walker noted
that Marshall had in her possession a medical marijuana card and a
physician's statement that allowed her to possess up to six pounds
of dried marijuana buds.

The district attorney rejected the sheriff's request for prosecution
based on Marshall's medical defense. A few days later, the
sheriff's department filed a request for an order to destroy the
cannabis with assertions that there had been no claims that it was
medical marijuana.

"To the best of my knowledge, there has not been any request for
return of medical marijuana for medical reasons …, each case of
medical marijuana was reviewed and determined not to be for medical
purposes," McDaniel said in his request.

In September, after sheriff's officials destroyed Marshall's
medical marijuana, Deputy County Counsel Ann Duggan claimed sheriff
deputies were unaware the buds were for medical use.

"As far as I understand the factual background, the sheriff's
department has no record of your client's possession of a
physician's statement," Duggan said in a letter to
Marshall's attorney.

In response, Louis Koory, Marshall's attorney, filed a civil claim
asking the county to pay to replace Marshall's medical marijuana.

"The sheriff and the county were aware that under California law the
Sheriff was compelled to return the claimant's property in the
absence of pending criminal action," Koory said in the civil claim
he filed on Dec. 23.

Following a liver cancer diagnosis, doctors informed Marshall she had
less than a year to live. Though currently in remission, daily nausea, a
side effect of the cancer treatment, has caused her weight to drop to as
low as 98 pounds.

In addition, a car accident left Marshall with two herniated discs, a
fractured disc and a broken disc. Marshall has endured two back
surgeries, has constant pain and for days at a time is bedridden.

Doctors prescribed medical marijuana to ease her pain and nausea.

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