Suspects leaving San Francisco jail can get pot back

U.S. Court Watch

A San Francisco court has made it easier for suspects released from the city jail to get back their legally obtained marijuana along with items like keys, money and other property confiscated from them when they are placed under arrest and detained.

The San Francisco Superior Court decision made public Monday said police, judges and law enforcement officials are shielded from federal prosecution when they return less than an ounce (28 grams) of marijuana to released suspects who ask to get back their seized property.

San Francisco police had refused to return to Robert T. Smith 21 grams of marijuana seized from his backpack during a January disturbing the peace arrest.

Charges were dropped and Proposition 64 in November 2016 made possession of less than an ounce of marijuana legal in California. Possession of medical marijuana obtained with a doctor's recommendation has been legal in California since 1996. Marijuana in all forms remains illegal under federal law.

Smith's attorney, University of San Francisco law professor Lara Bazelon, said she has represented three people who have had trouble getting their legally obtained marijuana returned by San Francisco police.

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