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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Chronic City: Medical Marijuana Group Gets $139,000 In Attorneys Fees From Garden Grove; City Spent $250K In Legal Battle over $200 Worth of Pot

Posted By on Wed, Jun 17, 2009 at 5:55 PM

Leggo my indo. - WIKIMEDIA.ORG
  • Leggo my indo.
Will grass get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no grass? National medical Marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access (ASA) may not have to find out, as it just received $139,000 for attorney fees by the City of Garden Grove in a landmark medicinal pot case.

Throw in the more than $100,000 spent by the City of Garden Grove fighting the state's medical Marijuana law, and the L.A. suburb spent a likely total of more than a a quarter of a million dollars, according to ASA.

The case involved the wrongful seizure of medical Marijuana from Garden Grove patient Felix Kha. The city's argument that California's medical Marijuana law was pre-emted by federal law was rejected in the landmark decision. Instead, the Fourth Appellate District Court ruled, "it is not the job of the local police to enforce the federal drug laws."

According to chief counsel Joe Elford of ASA, Garden Grove made

the unfortunate decision to spend in the neighborhood of $250,000 in

its stubborn refusal to return medical Marijuana worth about $200.

"Nevertheless, this should force local officials to better uphold

medical Marijuana patients' rights under the law," Elford said.

Joe Elford, Americans for Safe Access - PHOTO: ASA
  • Photo: ASA
  • Joe Elford, Americans for Safe Access

was pulled over by Garden Grove Police in June of 2005. He was cited

for possession of Marijuana, despite showing officers his medical

documentation. The Marijuana charge against Kha was subsequently

dismissed, with the Superior Court of Orange County issuing an order

for the police to return Kha's eight grams of Marijuana. The police, backed

by the City of Garden Grove, refused to return the medicine and the

city appealed.

While Kha's case was before the

appellate court, state Attorney General Jerry Brown filed a "friend of the

court" brief on behalf of Kha, backing his right to possess medical Marijuana.

Several rigidly anti-pot law enforcement associations statewide then

filed briefs in support of Garden Grove, challenging the legitimacy of

California's medical Marijuana law.

The ASA's

Elford said he has received hundreds of complaints from medical

Marijuana patients about local anti-pot cops seizing their drugs on the

logic that "we'll take it from you and let the courts sort it out."


said the decision, handed down by the California Supreme Court in March

2008 and the U.S. Supreme Court in December 2008, along with the

crowning achievement, today's settlement for attorney fees, is a huge

victory for medical Marijuana advocates.


adherence to state medical Marijuana laws by local police will result

in fewer needless arrests and seizures, and will allow for better

implementation of those laws not only in California, but in all medical

Marijuana states," Elford said.

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