Thursday, August 16, 2007

College Student Gets Pot Back from Police

Thursday's Frat Boy News Pause for the Cause

Merced College
(compiled by Victor A. Paton,

Sam Matthews got high Tuesday but it wasn't from marijuana.

Judge Armando Rodriguez awarded Matthews, a medical marijuana user, $1,700 for pain and suffering stemming from an October 2006 incident when he was cited by Merced police for possessing $300 in marijuana.

Although the 25-year-old Merced College student was originally seeking $7,500 in damages, he said the small claims court decision was not about the money. "It's about their illegal actions," Matthews said. "(The judge) showed that regardless of the federal standpoint on medical marijuana, the police are required to follow state law."

Local medical marijuana activists said Monday's decision marked a victory that will hopefully set a precedent for protecting their rights.

Medical marijuana user Grant Wilson said police will now hopefully "think twice" before citing anyone for using medical marijuana. "I'm happy for him," Wilson said. "I think he should have gotten the whole $7,500 just for the whole blatant disrespect of the law."

Merced Chief Deputy City Attorney Jeanne Schechter declined to comment on the court decision, saying her office needs to review the case before deciding on whether to appeal. "We need to evaluate whether we believe the decision is appropriate," she said.

Matthews was detained and cited by Merced police after he had been smoking marijuana inside the garage of his parents' Loughborough Drive home. He has used medical marijuana since 2001 to treat scoliosis in his back and pain from his right leg being about an inch-and-a-half longer than his left.

Click here to see Sam's heartwarming video.

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