Four years after police seized Timothy E. Adams' homegrown supply of medical marijuana and slapped him into Benton County jail, he reclaimed his pot and related equipment.
The 45-year-old Kennewick resident drove his SUV to the rear of the Kennewick police station Wednesday, and officers allowed Adams to load up his rig with what was left of 40 mature plants that had been locked up in evidence lockers since March 2005.
Taking back his medicinal pot marks the end of Adams' legal battle with Benton County authorities in which a state appeals court ruled that he was wrongly convicted in 2007.
A state appeals court declared last month that Adams had a legal right to grow the marijuana as a "primary caregiver" for someone when Kennewick officers raided his home March 12, 2005, taking the plants, glass smoking pipes, growing equipment and scales.
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Chief Judge John A. Schultheis of Division III Appellate Court wrote in his opinion that arresting officers should have asked about or given Adams the opportunity to show he had a permit to legally grow marijuana as a primary caregiver under the state's Medical Marijuana Act when they arrested him at a store in Pasco where he worked.
"It would be nice if the police would acknowledge there is a (state) law," said Adams Wednesday while recounting the events of his arrest and conviction in Benton County Superior Court.
Adams, who claimed to have medical marijuana use permit from two Portland doctors, also argued that he was a permitted "primary caregiver" for another person who used the drug for medicinal purposes.
The Benton County Prosecutor's Office charged Adams with illegal growing of marijuana.
Adams said the arrest left him unemployed, estranged from business partners and family members and homeless until he met Tammy Wandling, who became his fianc and posted a $5,000 bond to keep him out of jail until the appeal was resolved.
Adams said the arrest could have been avoided if Washington had a statewide registry for people permitted to grow and use medical marijuana.
He said he became a member of the THC Foundation in Bellevue six years ago because he wanted to use marijuana for pain relief from a traumatic injury accident that occurred when he was a child.
The appeals court found that Adams was qualified to have up to a 60-day supply of marijuana for medical use, and that Benton County authorities were wrong not to recognize that he had documented proof of being a legitimate grower and primary caregiver.
"He was never given a chance to obtain the documents" to show police), the court ruled in ordering a remand.