|Photo: THC Finder|
|25 pounds of marijuana, above, along with some plants, were taken from the home of a Newport Beach, California man whom police say was legally justified to possess that amount.|
A California man who had 25 pounds of marijuana and marijuana plants stolen from his home earlier this month did have legal justification to possess that amount, according to police.
The resident in Santa Ana Heights, a suburb of Newport Beach, is protected under the California Department of Justice’s legal guidelines for possessing and cultivating marijuana for medicinal use, said Lt. Bill Hartford, reports Joseph Serna at the Costa Mesa Daily Pilot.
“The individual had the appropriate issued medical marijuana paperwork and/or licensing for the amount of marijuana and marijuana plants there were in his possession,” Hartford said.
The paperwork showed the man was operating a marijuana collective, according to police.
He was the victim of a daytime residential burglary on February 6, when thieves broke into his home and carried out boxes of marijuana and plants. They were arrested in Santa Ana shortly afterward.
Police opened the boxes and discovered marijuana. When they contacted the homeowner, he told them he was legally permitted to have the cannabis, worth about $50,000.
“If a person is acting as a primary caregiver to more than one patient, he or she may aggregate the possession and cultivation limits for each patient,” the guidelines read. Under California law, a cultivator can possess up to eight ounces of marijuana, and six mature of 12 immature cannabis plants per patient.
With criminal charges off the table, Newport Beach city officials were at first reviewing possible civil action for violations of federal and local land-use laws, according to City Attorney David Hunt. Newport Beach “does not have any kind of license or permit that allows people to grow marijuana,” Hunt said. (Hey, City Attorney Hunt: California’s had such a law since 1996.)
But no further action would be needed, Hunt said, after city officials inspected the home on Thursday and found all marijuana and equipment to grow cannabis had been removed.
No word on why City Attorney Hunt thought local law enforcement was supposed to enforce federal laws.