Do the POPO Ever Have to Return Your MJ?

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Really, does anything suck more?

Police Officer Returning MarijuanaThere you are, enjoying a beautiful day and a beautiful J, when Officer Friendly shows up on the scene. How much trouble he brings depends entirely on where you live, but in most places one thing is certain: He’s taking that weed.

Jail time is a pain in the ass, and civil fines are no fun, either. But losing your pot may be the single worst part of the experience.

It’s not so much the cost – if you could afford the weed you lost, you could probably afford more weed just like it. What you can’t tolerate is the unexpected rush back to the black market, which is never open when you need it.

But what if the rules were different? What if the cops had to let you keep your pot? Or, better yet, what if they took it but then had to give it back? Wouldn’t that just be kind of awesome? Well, it happens, and the phenomenon is growing.

Of course, in places were dope is legal for recreation – Colorado, Washington State, Oregon, Alaska, and Washington, D.C. – the cops can’t take your marijuana in the first place, any more than they could take the booze from your car when you leave the liquor store parking lot.

But even in those safe states, the issue isn’t strictly theoretical. In some of these places, police still take small amounts of pot, whether because they’re mistaken, because they want the law to remain as it was, or because suspects busted on non-cannabis charges are carrying it when booked into jail. These instances aren’t terribly common, at least not yet, but they do happen.

D.C. returns weed upon release from jail

2013 Medical Cannabis Cup | StonerThings.comIn the nation’s capital, for example, police now routinely return cannabis to suspects when they are released from jail, unless the pot is held as evidence or exceeds the city’s two-ounce weight limit. Marijuana has been legal there for recreational use since late last year.

The District’s first lucky inmate got his weed back in March, when he was released from a local jail. Prosecutors charged him with a non-drug related crime, so the pot was considered part of his property and was returned, just like a pack of cigarettes or a cheap wristwatch.

“This property was less than two ounces of marijuana and was returned to the arrestee with the other property held at the time of his arrest,” a D.C. police spokeswoman said at the time.

Similar scenes have played out elsewhere and will likely increase as legalization spreads. So don’t be surprised if the day comes when your kindly local police officer ends up doing what illicit dealers have been doing for years: Handing you your grass.

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