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The City of Garden Grove v. Kha

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Felix, a user or medical marijuana, was stopped by a police officer as he was driving. The officer arrested Felix, however, the City dropped the charges against him. Felix moved to obtain his marijuana from the City, and the trial court granted his motion. The City appeals the trial court’s order.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    The federal law, the Controlled Substance Act, does not supersede or preempt an individual from his or her right to the return of his or her property, medical marijuana.

    Facts.

    A Garden Grove police officer stopped Felix Kha as Felix was driving. At the traffic stop, the officer seized about a third of an ounce of marijuana. Felix had a doctor’s approval to use marijuana for medical purposes. Prosecution dismissed the charges. Felix, subsequently, moved to obtain his property, marijuana, from the police department, and the trial court granted his motion. The City appeals the trial court’s order and petitions for a writ of mandate and/or prohibition mandating the trial court to vacate its previous order and deny Felix’s motion.

    Issue.

    Whether the trial court erred in granting Felix’s motion to obtain his marijuana from the City.

    Held.

    No, the trial court did not err in granting Felix’s motion to obtain his marijuana from the City.

    Discussion.

    The City asserts that to the extent that state law allows Felix’s return of medical marijuana, the return of medical marijuana is prohibited under federal law. Nevertheless, the court finds the city’s arguments to be unreasonable because it the use of medical marijuana by a qualified user, for the limited purpose of medical treatment, will not likely create a significant drug problem. Therefore, here, Felix’s return of medical marijuana will not constitute a real or meaningful threat to the federal drug enforcement objectives.


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