Medical Marijuana Victory

May 13, 2008 9:26:36 PM PDT
Sam Matthews grows his own medicine for severe back and knee pain at his home in Merced. Pain that's been eased somewhat by a court victory in his nearly two year battle against city hall over less than an ounce of confiscated medical marijuana. Matthews says Merced police arrested him back in 2006 after refusing to recognize the state I.D card he bought in Alameda County. This stack of files documents Matthews' long legal battle to get the city to pay him back for the medical pot that police took.

That battle ended this week when a judge ordered the city to pay him 300 dollars for the marijuana, and another 500 for pain and suffering. Matthews said:"It's not about the money. From the beginning, since 1996, I've been telling them every city, every county in the state of California had the duty to follow its' own state laws."

The City says Matthews' lawsuit has changed Merced Police department policy, with officers now required to recognize all valid medical marijuana cards." Matthews said: "Many people have been arrested, many people have had their rights abused I said I'm not going to take it."

Matthews also claims both Merced and Merced county are breaking state law by barring businesses where medical marijuana patients could buy medication. But the city says it has no choice.

Merced Public Information Officer Mike Conway said: "Basically there is a conflict between state law and federal law and what we really need is for the U.S. Supreme Court to come down and tell us which way to go. That's the problem we're facing." For now, Matthews says he hopes his small award for pain and suffering will ease the pain of other medical marijuana users.


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