Judge Orders California Highway Patrol To Return Marijuana

With the debate on medical marijuana still at a full boil in Los Angeles, a judge Friday ordered the return of 60 pounds of pot to a man after his attorneys successfully argued that a state law gave him the right to transport it.

Saguro Doven, 33, was initially charged with possession of marijuana for sale and transportation of the drug, a violation of the state’s health and safety code.

The marijuana was bundled in individual bags that were tucked inside a larger duffel bag when Doven was pulled over on the 101 Freeway by a California Highway Patrol officer, according to court records.

But defense attorney Glen T. Jonas argued that his client was a member of a Venice-based medical marijuana collective and that he was authorized to transport the marijuana. The California attorney general’s guidelines regarding medical marijuana indicate that collectives are allowed to both grow and transport quantities of marijuana for its members.

Jonas said the prosecution’s expert witness, CHP Sgt. Richard Fuentes, was unqualified to render an expert opinion in the case because he lacked the knowledge required to distinguish lawful from unlawful possession and transportation of marijuana, according to court records.

Fuentes had testified that only caregivers can transport or carry large quantities of marijuana. The law, however, states that members of a collective may transport marijuana on behalf of the group and are exempt from prosecution.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge William Sterling agreed that the prosecution expert was unqualified and ordered the charge of possession for sale dismissed.

On Monday, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office asked that the remaining transportation count be dismissed.

Doven’s attorney then asked for the 60 pounds of marijuana to be returned — a request that was granted. Doven could have faced a maximum of four years in state prison if found guilty.

“Although justice was delayed, I am thankful it wasn’t denied,” Doven said.

– Article from Los Angeles Times on January 9. 2010.

Comments

5 Comments

  1. greg williams on

    I live in San Francisco and was sitting underneath the Olive Trees across the street from city hall packing a bowl, and just as i raised my lighter to light my bowl and take my first puff, who walks right by in front of me, 4 steps away ? ( honestly, i did not see them coming my way)
    The Mayor, The Chief of Police, and a Captain. Not a word was said. They kept walking and i kept puffing.

    We aslo have Medical Marijuana Week in the city and we were walking down Market Street with a joint 8 feet long on our shoulders and one of the Sgt. of police said..” i should of brought my bong”. It was then i asked him if he had a light and he proceeded to hand be his Zippo Lighter, i lit my j and walked on down the road.

    I love San Francisco. I do not go around blowing smoke in peoples faces, but i do smoke openly un public and i have never been arrested or hassled by the SFPD.
    You can walk down Mission street, Valencia Street, Market Street, Haight Street, etc etc, just about any street in the city and catch the aroma of the herb all around you .

  2. Anonymous on

    if the stupid laws against it were overturned.

  3. Anonymous on

    That’s quite a loophole there. I wonder how much a guy could make transporting duffel bags full of weed for dealers? That’s the riskiest part of the business. California is the land of opportunity.

  4. one12alpha on

    That is that they even bothered the system with such a senseless case.

  5. Anonymous on

    It looks like there are still some bugs needing worked out on the law enforcement side of things.