The grow equipment had been returned earlier, according to attorney Derek St. Pierre, but figuring out exactly how to return the medical cannabis was a little trickier (no protocol for returning such a large amount of pot exists, see).
Seized prescription medication is usually processed through SF General Hospital, but SF General wanted no part of such a large quantity of cannabis, St. Pierre said (a pound is typically worth $1800-$2500 at wholesale, so do the math).
So a deal had to be arranged. Phillips and St. Pierre met with uniformed officers in an undisclosed parking lot, where a trunk-to-trunk swap was effected, from an unmarked police cruiser to Phillips's SUV, St. Pierre said.
A few passers-by did double-takes at the situation, but St. Pierre had nothing but praise for the way SFPD conducted the operation. "I thought the police were extremely professional in the way they handled themselves," he told SF Weekly. "Everything was done in a respectful and courteous manner."
No one knows for certain -- SFPD doesn't keep these kinds of records, according to police spokeswoman Lt. Lyn Tomioka -- but this may be the largest amount of marijuana returned by police in San Francisco. "Usually with quantities like this, people don't ask for it back," St. Pierre said. "They just accept the loss and move on."
That a tale of a marijuana bust would conclude with a happy ending -- happy for the marijuana, anyway -- may not be typical, but the law is the law, observed Tomioka.
"It's not something we do every day, but we work closely with the DA's office, and in this case, they determined return of the property was the right thing to do," she said. "We're not antagonistic."
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