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California Briefing / SEAL BEACH

Marijuana user sues police

September 24, 2008|From the Associated Press

A medical marijuana user has filed a $1-million lawsuit against Seal Beach police for taking up to 50 of his pot plants and allegedly forcing him to become an informant.

The Orange County Superior Court lawsuit filed last month by Bruce Benedict, 43, of Seal Beach said he is a marijuana patient and caregiver who is allowed by California law to grow and distribute the drug.

Benedict said that he called police because of illegal construction in his apartment building and that officers smelled marijuana. County prosecutors refused to file charges, so officers returned to Benedict's apartment later with federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents in tow, the suit says.

The pot was confiscated and Benedict was arrested. California law allows medical marijuana, but federal law prohibits it.

Benedict's suit says police officers asked him to move out of the city and become an informant in various drug matters. Benedict complied, the suit says, alleging that police told him he would face federal charges if he didn't work for them.

The city has declined to comment.

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