Cops Don't Have to Take Care of Seized Legal Weed Anymore

According to a Colorado Supreme Court ruling Monday
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 26, 2017 5:59 PM CST
Cops Don't Have to Return Your Legal Weed Even if You're Acquitted: Court
Stock image   (Getty Images/nathanphoto)

If police in Colorado seize your legal weed while investigating a crime, they don't ever have to give it back—even if you're acquitted, the state's Supreme Court ruled this week. The ruling reverses a 2013 decision in a lower court, the AP reports. In 2011, Robert Crouse was arrested after police found 55 marijuana plants and more than 6 pounds of pot in his house, according to the Denver Post. He was acquitted because he was a registered medical marijuana patient and demanded police fulfill a Colorado law that required them to take care of seized marijuana and marijuana plants and return them in a usable condition. Instead, he got moldy pot back and sued.

Police "hated" the Colorado law. And now with Monday's Supreme Court ruling, they can go back to destroying any and all marijuana seized during a criminal investigation, KKTV reports. In the 4-3 ruling, the state Supreme Court found that following the state's law requiring the return of seized marijuana would technically make officers "distributors" in violation of federal law. A former US attorney says that would make officers vulnerable to federal prosecution. The decision was authored by Judge Allison Eid, said to be a potential Trump Supreme Court nominee. The dissenting justices argued the federal Controlled Substances Act makes exemptions for officers. For example, officers are allowed to sell drugs during undercover stings. (Read more marijuana stories.)

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