Trooper Takes Man’s Medical Marijuana Despite Paperwork


Photo: KIRO 7
Neil Leno: “I was surprised and then I was also frustrated”

​A Washington man said his medical marijuana paperwork wasn’t enough to keep an officer from taking his personal supply of cannabis Tuesday morning.

Neil Leno said at first he wasn’t worried when a State Trooper stopped his friend’s car for a cracked windshield, even though he had a bag of marijuana on the back seat, reports Lee Stoll at KIRO 7.
“The officer is asking if there’s anything in the car that he should know about and we state, ‘Yes, we have medical marijuana,’ ” Leno said.

He’d just spent nearly $300 on 28 grams, enough for a two-week supply, Leno said. He said he showed the officer his paperwork and a doctor’s authorization for medical marijuana to manage pain from a broken back, ankle and inner ear tumor.
“He refused to take the idea that I might be in pain (and) that I might need this,” Leno said.
The State Trooper took the one-ounce bag of marijuana, but did not cite him, according to Leno.
If the man broke a law (which Leno didn’t), then cite or arrest him. But don’t just stop him, steal his medicine, and send him on his way!
“I was surprised and then I was also frustrated that he was not listening to the laws that I was stating to him,” Leno said.

Photo: KIRO 7
Washington State Trooper Keith Leary: “If you’re carrying marijuana in your car and you get stopped, chances are it’s going to be taken from you”

​Washington State Patrol Trooper Keith Leary claimed the patrolman followed “procedure.”
“If you’re carrying marijuana in your car and you get stopped, chances are it’s going to be taken from you,” Leary said. “We want to treat everyone with dignity and respect when it comes to a medical problem but this is a gray area.”
Law enforcement authorities claimed the problem is “there is no way to tell if a medical marijuana card is real.”
This is now a bogus claim, as Washington state’s medical marijuana law, as recently amended by the Legislature, now requires not a card, but tamper-resistant paper with a physician’s signature. It is impossible to alter or photocopy the tamper-resistant paper without the changes becoming very obvious.

Photo: KIRO 7

​Leno’s CannaCare card and paperwork, however, was issued late last year, just before the change requiring tamper-proof paper.
“It’s frustrating for law enforcement because we don’t have something that specifically says this is legal,” Leary said.
Trooper Leary claimed the issue is “up to the Legislature to clarify.”
In fact, Washington voters in 1998 passed a medical marijuana law allowing patients with certain terminal and debilitating conditions to use medical marijuana. In 2009, the Legislature clarified and expanded the law, setting “60-day limits” of cannabis at 24 ounces and 15 growing plants per patient.
In the meantime, while law enforcement officers claim ignorance of the law, patients are caught in the middle.
“I need my medication,” Leno said.
Leno said he had been stopped before by officers from other agencies and let go.
Trooper Leary said that’s another frustration: other law enforcement agencies are handling the issue differently.
Here’s a novel idea, Trooper Leary: how about respecting the law, and the will of the voters? Just sayin’.
Leno spent most of the day Wednesday at the courthouse trying to get a judge to give his marijuana back to him.
To view KIRO 7 TV’s news report: