In Massachusetts, a local judge is giving the people what they want. This past week a Clinton District Court judge ordered the West Boylston Police Department to return 17.55 ounces of marijuana and other related paraphernalia they had confiscated from a local couple a year ago.
“I think this is the first time, as a police officer, I’ve given marijuana to someone,” recalls Police Sergeant Anthony Papandrea.
This whole debacle began when the male resident, who wished to remain unnamed, and his family moved from California to Massachusetts. The man had been running a full-licensed California dispensary for a year before wishing to move his business to his hometown of West Boylston. He shipped his merchandise and made the move out east, but his package never arrived.
Instead, he was greeted to a knock on the door by the postal inspector, the West Boylston police department, and a search warrant.
The following items were initially seized after the warrant was issued:
- Five packages of marijuana
- A black safe containing more marijuana
- Two vacuum sealers
- Marijuana-infused hard candies
- Glass smoking pipes
- Rolling papers
- Marijuana seeds
- A grinder
- Four large grow lights
- Two blower vents
- Three temperature controllers
- 33 large potted marijuana plants
- 94 small potted marijuana plants
- A small grow light
- A black tent lined with reflective silver
- A 55-gallon drum of water
- An electric pump
- Small plastic hoses
The male resident told officers he and his wife had a prescription for the marijuana and that they were permitted to have 10 ounces of pot at all times. He referenced the pair of Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) medical marijuana cards, two DPH applications for the male and female residents, and a California compassionate health wellness counseling medical Cannabis card that the police had just confiscated.
However, the postal inspector informed the male resident that it is illegal to ship marijuana through the U.S. Postal Service (aka the U.S. bummer patrol) and would therefore have to make an appearance in court for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, manufacturing and cultivation of marijuana, and the possession of Hashish.
But this story has a happy ending. Firstly, charges against both defendants were dismissed. Then, the man’s attorney, John Madaio, entered a finding of suppression of evidence on December 7, 2015 in a motion to return the confiscated property.
Judge Robert Gardner found this interesting, ruling that although it is illegal to possess more than one ounce of marijuana in Massachusetts, a recent medical marijuana law—An Act for the Humanitarian Medical Use of Marijuana–permits patients to possess up to a 60-day supply of marijuana necessary to the patient’s medical needs.
Just how much is a 60-day supply? Ten ounces per person. According to Judge Gardner, that meant the husband and wife were well within their rights to possess the 17.55 ounces sent to them. So Gardner ordered that the 17.55 ounces–including 15 ounces of marijuana, .05 ounces of hashish, 2.5 ounces of oil, and some seeds–as well as any personal property taken during the search be promptly returned.
Their property returned, you can bet this man and wife are finally feeling warmly welcomed to West Boylston.