CA Police Chief Attacks State Law, Warns Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

Sep 29, 2009

California, law enforcement, Medical Marijuana, Redding

Here’s one for the “Cops Unclear On the Concept” file: The Record-Searchlight in Redding, California is reporting that the town’s police chief, Peter Hansen, has sent a warning letter to local medical marijuana dispensing collectives. Hansen’s letter warns dispensary operators that they are in violation of federal law, that “federal law takes precedence over State law,” and, “Violation of this law is a felony crime that carries with it a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.”

While the chief has every right to dislike California’s medical marijuana law, it is his job to enforce state law, not attack it. That’s something the courts have made unmistakably clear, most notably in a case known as Garden Grove v. Superior Court. In that case, city police had improperly seized medical marijuana from patient Felix Kha, and then insisted they couldn’t return his medicine to him because federal law takes precedence over state law. The state appellate court ordered the return of Kha’s marijuana, stating, “[I]t is not the job of the local police to enforce the federal drug laws as such.”

Memo to Chief Hansen: Is there something about the phrase, “it is not the job of the local police to enforce the federal drug laws” that’s hard for you to comprehend? Is Redding so completely free of robberies, rapes, murders, auto thefts, and other actual crimes that you have nothing else better to do?