Cali Court to Nosy Cops: Don't Bogart


Some good news on the Drug War front—a California state appeals court has ruled that the Garden Grove Police Department must return eight grams of pot officers seized from medical marijuana patient Felix Kha during a 2005 traffic stop, because Kha's prescription was legal under state law. As my former colleagues on the L.A. Times editorial board put it,

[T]he court correctly found that in this case federal law did not take precedence over California law. The federal government is perfectly free to seize Kha's marijuana if it chooses, the court found, but medical marijuana is legal in this state and neither the police nor the courts are charged with enforcing federal law. "We would be astonished if prosecutors began filing federal charges in state courts," the court wrote. […]

[T]here is nothing like a polarizing social issue during a period when conservatives hold sway in Washington to convert liberals into champions of states' rights and conservatives into zealous defenders of the federal government. But the court deftly navigated this territory as well. By returning Kha's marijuana, the court wrote, "Garden Grove police will actually be facilitating a primary principle of federalism, which is to allow the states to innovate in areas bearing on the health and well-being of their citizens."

Jacob Sullum blogged about Kha's case back in August.