Why Police Should Be Held Liable For Destroying Legally Grown Cannabis

By Terry Hacienda, The Fresh Toast on

Published in Cannabis Daily

More importantly, because of the illegality of cannabis on a federal level, there are serious issues with cops returning weed at all. According to Forbes:

Other states don’t even do that much. In 2017, in a decision penned by a judge believed to then be on former President Donald Trump’s short list for US Supreme Court nominees, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that law enforcement in that state “cannot” return cannabis seized “during the course of law enforcement duties.”

Returning legal cannabis to citizens from whom it should not have been confiscated in the first place is allowable only if “it complies with state and federal law.” Since cannabis is still illegal under federal law, the mere act of law enforcement returning it to a citizen is “similar to distribution of a controlled substance,” as the University of Colorado-Boulder reported in a news release. 

Now, Chelsea Sutula is looking to sue the Ventura County sheriff’s office for rightful compensation and this is definitely something that could send ripples across the nation as more places begin to legalize. If Sutula is successful, it would incentivize the police to make sure that if they are to seize legal cannabis, they will have to store it adequately or be faced with paying the difference.

This has already happened once in 2010 where a medical cannabis patient in San Luis Obispo County won a case against the police and was allotted $20,000 in compensation for six pounds of cannabis. If Sutula wins, it would be the largest payout in the nation from a police department towards a wrongfully charged individual (collective). Why this is important and why cannabis insurance will become a big thing Once again, one of the main issues in this story is the illegality of cannabis on a federal level. We are seeing more states legalize, and as a result, many legal businesses might be targeted by the police. I’m not saying that the police are targeting these businesses to harass them, rather, we’re saying that when a mistake is made by the police department, they should be liable for the property.

Think of it this way: If the cops seize a lambo and then return it all scratched up, a few tires missing and the door removed, they would be held responsible for the condition of the goods. Cannabis is also a good, and currently they can return it “all scratched up” and damaged without having to face any consequence to their actions.


This is something that we will have to take a closer look at as we continue to move forward with legalization all over the nation. We’re coming to a point where these kinds of rulings need to be addressed, especially since 1 in 2 Americans live in a place where cannabis is somewhat legal. If we’re taking a look at hemp cultivation, which at times can also be mistaken for illegal drugs, the entire nation is under some sort of cannabis-related law.

There needs to be some rules of engagement and compensation in place.

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