Richmond Police Officer Found with Marijuana in Home (CA Health and Safety Code 11357)

It’s not uncommon for a law enforcement official to confiscate quantities of marijuana in their course of his or her duties.  What is unusual is to find some of that same type of contraband in an officer’s own home.  A 43-year-old member of the Richmond police force claims that he was using a 4-pound bag of marijuana to train his police dog, but prosecutors were suspicious of this story.  Recently, however, they decided not to pursue the case.

There were several different factors in the above instance that contributed to the final decision made by prosecutors.  While federal law dictates that any amount of marijuana is illegal, California state law (CA Health and Safety Code 11357) prohibits the possession of the drug even for personal use.  However, if an individual is found in possession of marijuana less than 28.5 grams of the substance, this is not considered criminal.  Instead, a $100 fine is imposed and the individual in question will spend no time in jail.

Still, the Richmond officer had much more than 28.5 grams; he had 4 pounds, which amounts to 1,814.37 grams, that’s over 63 times the allowed limit.  And would have normally been considered a felony.  There was no marijuana missing from the bag and it has been assumed that it was used for dog training, but others point to the fact that taking seized drugs home, for any purpose is not only inadvisable and against policy, but also illegal.  Some also claim that this is a blatant case of special treatment for law enforcement officials.