Acquitted Tulare County man asks for pot back
Medical marijuana user says officials shouldn't keep half his 12 pounds.
After medical marijuana user Richard Daleman was found not guilty of cultivating and selling marijuana, he figured Tulare County officials would hand back the 12 pounds that were confiscated during his arrest.
He figured wrong -- prosecutors say they only have to return half, because his physician's recommendation allows him up to 6 pounds of marijuana.
And no, Assistant District Attorney Don Gallian said, he's not going to sift through the 12 pounds to pick out the "best buds," as Daleman had requested: "We don't do that sort of thing. I don't have that expertise."
After Daleman's trial ended, Tulare County Superior Court Judge Darryl Ferguson said the Sheriff's Department should return up to 6 pounds to Daleman because of his physician's recommendation.
But Daleman, 61, who lives just north of Visalia and uses marijuana to control chronic pain, says he has a legal right to reclaim the full 12 pounds.
He acknowledges that his doctor's recommendation says he can possess up to 6 pounds of medical marijuana, but he says that's 6 "processed" pounds -- minus the parts that he doesn't use.
Daleman said he extracts hash and kief -- a powder made from glands of a cannabis plant -- because of their potency. He rubs it on his knees and right shoulder for his arthritis and chronic pain, uses it as an ingredient in food such as brownies and mashed potatoes, and also uses it as a suppository for a prostate problem.
Because he doesn't smoke it, Daleman said, "By law I can have six to 10 times more" than someone who smokes it for medical reasons.
Ferguson will consider Daleman's request today.
Daleman was arrested Dec. 16 by Tulare County sheriff's deputies and charged with two counts of possession of marijuana for sale and two counts of cultivating marijuana, said his attorney, Andy Rubinger, a county deputy public defender.
He spent three months in jail.
Daleman said he is protected under the Compassionate Use Act approved by California voters in 1996. The act allows medical marijuana use with a doctor's recommendation.
Although deputies believed he was also selling marijuana, "there was no evidence that he ever sold any," Rubinger said.
A jury agreed, finding Daleman not guilty on all counts March 27, Rubinger said.
Gallian said he wouldn't discuss the facts of the case.
A spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, a national medical marijuana user advocacy group, said he believes Daleman should prevail in court.
In a recent case in Orange County, the city of Garden Grove was ordered by a Superior Court judge to return marijuana to a medical user whose criminal charges had been dismissed, said Aaron Smith, Marijuana Policy Project spokesman in Santa Rosa.
City officials refused, saying the marijuana use violated federal laws, Smith said. An appellate court and the state Supreme Court agreed with the lower court's ruling, he said.
"In ultimately all cases, the court comes down in returning all property," he said.
But a Susanville man says he shouldn't have to go to court to get Fresno County officials to return his medical marijuana.
Ken Thornton said Fresno police confiscated about a half-ounce -- even though he showed them his medical marijuana identification card -- during a traffic stop in February.
Thornton, 42, said he was in town to help his son move when he was cited for an expired vehicle registration, which he said was cleared up the next day.
The Fresno County District Attorney's Office did not file charges against Thornton.
Melissa White, legal adviser for the Fresno Police Department, said Thornton needs to get a court order before police can release his marijuana to him because it is a controlled substance.
Thornton can get an order from any state court, but he will still have to pick up his marijuana in person, White said.
But Thornton said it's a huge hassle to drive from Lassen County back to Fresno.
"It shouldn't have been taken in the first place," said Thornton, who uses marijuana to offset side effects of treatment he receives for hepatitis C.
Tuesday, Apr. 14, 2009
By Eddie Jimenez / The Fresno Bee
Phungushead added 0 Minutes and 53 Seconds later...
Judge orders marijuana be returned to medical user
A Tulare County Superior Court judge today ordered the return of all marijuana confiscated from a medical marijuana user who was found not guilty of growing and selling the drug.
The decision by Judge Darryl Ferguson means Richard Daleman, 61, will get back all 12 pounds of the marijuana confiscated when he was arrested in December by Tulare County sheriff’s deputies.
After Daleman’s trial ended in late March, Ferguson said the Sheriff’s Department should return up to 6 pounds — the amount recommended by Daleman's physician.
Daleman acknowledged that his doctor’s recommendation says he can possess up to 6 pounds of medical marijuana, but he said that’s 6 “processed” pounds — minus the parts that he doesn’t use — because he doesn’t smoke the drug.
Ferguson cited similar court cases in ruling today that all marijuana “reasonably related" to Daleman's medical needs should be returned to him.
Wednesday, Apr. 15, 2009
By Eddie Jimenez / The Fresno Bee