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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

SFPD Returns Seven Pounds of Marijuana to Grower

Posted By on Wed, Oct 20, 2010 at 12:04 PM

Just holding it for you
  • Just holding it for you
Just holding it for you
Should you run afoul of the law, your property may be seized as evidence. If you are acquitted or your charges dismissed, your property is returned.

This principle is simple but it doesn't always apply to pot growers. But it does for Cody Phillips, whose cultivation for sale charges were dismissed in August. In a June raid on his west side home, San Francisco police seized grow lights, cash and seven pounds of marijuana -- and last week, in what is probably the largest-ever cop-to-grower marijuana transaction, SFPD gave it all back. And in pristine condition, Phillips's attorney said Wednesday.

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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About The Author

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has spent most of his adult life working in San Francisco news media, which is to say he's still a teenager in Middle American years. He has covered marijuana, drug policy, and politics for SF Weekly since 2009.


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