Bill would make police return seized marijuana or reimburse user

Different varieties and strains of marijuana plants are available for patients of Harborside Health Center who want to grow their own pot.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Law enforcement agencies in California that file charges against medical marijuana users would have to return any seized pot or reimburse the user for it if the charges are dropped or result in acquittal, under a bill pending in the Legislature.

The main purpose of the bill by state Sen. Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa) is to reduce the quantity of seized marijuana that a law enforcement agency must keep in its possession from 10 pounds to 2 pounds. That is why it is supported by the Peace Officers Research Assn. of California and California State Sheriffs’ Assn.

But Evans’ measure also protects those wrongly charged. It allows the defense of the accused to inspect the property before the destruction. And it says that on dismissal or acquittal of a case, the defendant is entitled to return of the marijuana and associated paraphernalia.


If the marijuana has been destroyed, the defendant is entitled to “reasonable compensation.”

“This bill serves the dual purposes of assisting law enforcement at a practical level with marijuana storage and securing the rights of individuals who are following the law,” Evans said. “It’s not too often we have the collaboration of peace officers and the medical marijuana industry on legislation.”

SB 1193 was approved unanimously by the Senate Public Safety Committee.