It’s been nearly two weeks since Seattle Police raided the Lifevine offices in the University District. The return of the medical records for several hundred patients resolved the most egregious error made that day, but the police continue to hold onto 12 ounces of medicine which was also confiscated. The medicine belongs to Martin Martinez, a registered medical marijuana patient. The police recognize that Martinez is a registered patient, was allowed to be in possession of the marijuana, but for unclear reasons, they are refusing to give it back.
(Just to provide some perspective, I have no idea who provides medicine for Martin, but if he were forced to replace what was taken through the black market, it would cost him a couple thousand dollars)
I briefly spoke with Leo Poort, an attorney working for the Seattle Police Department, who was vague about why the police were doing what they were doing and referred me to Martinez’s attorney, Douglas Hiatt. At the Cascadia NORML website, the following explanation of the relevant law is provided:
There is no justification for police to seize medical marijuana from a legal marijuana patient. WA State law is very specific on that point. RCW; 69.51A 040 reads: “If a law enforcement officer determines that marijuana is being possessed lawfully under the medical marijuana law, the officer may document the amount of marijuana, take a representative sample that is large enough to test, but not seize the marijuana”.
Police authorities have misconstrued that sentence to mean that officers may or may not confiscate the medicine at their discretion, but as any student of the English language can plainly see, that interpretation is completely incorrect. The word “may” in that sentence clearly applies to the last section of that sentence, not the entire subject of the sentence. We believe an educated jury will agree that WA statute 69.51A 040 means: “officers may take samples of the medicine, but they may not seize the marijuana when they have determined that marijuana is possessed legally by a patient.”
Seattle Police continue to stonewall Lifevine Attorney Douglas Hiatt who has made several verbal requests for the return of the 12 ounces seized on July 15, 2008.
On Saturday, I was at a BBQ with some friends. I’m at that age where a lot of my friends have young kids, and one of the older kids (around 5 years old) was playing with his toy phaser. The adults were playing along, pretending to get shot and falling down. Eventually, a slightly older boy saw the fun, wanted the phaser for himself, and just took it right out of his hands. His mother had to explain to him that you can’t just take something from someone for no reason. This is a lesson I expect to see being taught to kindergarten-age kids. The adults in the Seattle Police Department who we trust to serve and protect us shouldn’t need it too.