In what will likely set legal precedent in the area, a Pierce County judge ruled yesterday that police must return seized marijuana that was taken from a designated provider during a traffic stop last year.
According to the man who’s getting his bud back, Joseph Robertson, “I feel great”, he said outside of the court house yesterday, “You’ve got to stand up for people’s rights sometimes.”
The situation started last May, when Robertson was pulled over for speeding. Police stated that they smelled marijuana, which Robertson had on him, though only a small amount. Despite him being a designated provider to a qualified patient in the state (allowing him to legally possess and grow cannabis for the patient he’s a provider for), police charged him with misdemeanor possession, and confiscated his cannabis.
In December, after the passage of Initiative 502, Robertson was one of hundreds who had their possession charges dropped. Robertson then made the bold, yet warranted, move of asking for his cannabis back; after all, the police were never within their rights to take it to begin with. Unsurprisingly, the city refused, and City prosecutor Charles Lee stood in opposition to the move.
Thankfully, Lee was quickly pushed aside, as Municipal Court Judge Jack Emery agreed that the police were outside of their rights to seize the cannabis, and ordered that they return it to Robertson.
“As far as that goes, it’s a big deal”, said Robertson’s attorney Jay Berneburg, who noted that it might be the first such ruling in Pierce County’s history.
We applaud Joseph Robertson for taking a stand for patients and designated providers everywhere. We can only imagine the satisfaction he’ll get to receive his cannabis back from police.