SIMI VALLEY — It was a rare day for the Simi Valley police--giving back pot plants they had seized from the backyard of a man arrested on suspicion of felony cultivation.
But Dean Jones had a legal order requiring officers to do just that. The order came after prosecutors on Friday said Jones was protected by Proposition 215, the 1996 medical marijuana law, and would not be charged.
"All I want are my meds," said an exasperated Jones, fanning himself with a folded piece of paper as he waited outside the police property room. "I need my meds."
The day began with a court hearing at which prosecutors announced they would not file charges of felony marijuana cultivation.
At the request of Jones' lawyer, Judge Edward F. Brodie ordered police to return all materials, including the marijuana, confiscated from Jones' home during his May 27 arrest.
But upon opening the brown paper bags on the sidewalk in front of the police station, Jones' happiness turned to disappointment.
"They've ruined my medicine," he said, holding a handful of moldy marijuana. "There's nothing here that's usable. . . . It's all gone."
And of the 13 plants listed in the police report as being taken into evidence, Jones said, he counted only 10. But, all the same, he was free and free to grow more and that's just fine, he said.
"I've been vindicated and I'm legal, and that's all I wanted in the first place," Jones said.
The Ventura County district attorney's decision came after the man's doctor confirmed that he was indeed a patient and that he had received the doctor's approval to use marijuana to treat a variety of ailments.
"We reviewed documents from Mr. Jones' doctor that showed the doctor had approved the use of marijuana," said Deputy Dist. Atty. Bill Redmond. "Mr. Jones is free to use and cultivate marijuana for personal use for his unfortunate illnesses."
Jones is a diabetic who suffers from high blood pressure, migraines, back problems and periodic foot inflammation. He also has skin cancer.
His problems with the law began late last month after he and his wife visited the Simi Valley Police Department to notify authorities that he was growing marijuana for his own use, specifically to aid treatment for his back and foot problems and high blood pressure.
The next day, officers arrested Jones and booked him into Ventura County Jail, where he remained for about 14 hours until being released on his own recognizance.
Police officials declined to comment on the case Friday.