A 60-lb Duffle Bag of Pot Returned to Rightful Owner

Judge tells highway patrol to give the man his weed

By John Adams
|  Monday, Jan 11, 2010  |  Updated 8:44 AM PDT
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A man that was pulled over on the 101 Freeway by the California Highway Patrol got his stash back and avoided prison time after his lawyer successfully argued that the duffle bag full of weed was en route to a Venice-based medical marijuana collective. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

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A man that was pulled over on the 101 Freeway by the California Highway Patrol got his stash back and avoided prison time after his lawyer successfully argued that the duffle bag full of weed was en route to a Venice-based medical marijuana collective.

Sagura Doven, 33, was charged with possession of marijuana for sale and transportation of the drug, a violation of the state's health and safety code, when the patrol officer discover 60-pounds of marijuana divided into baggies and stuffed in a large duffle bag.

Attorney Glen T. Jonas argued that his client was a member of a Venice-based medical marijuana collective and was authorized to transport the 60 pounds of pot.

The state attorney general's guidelines regarding medical marijuana indicate that collectives are allowed to both grow and transport quantities of marijuana for its members.

Jonas argued that the prosecution's expert witness, CHP Sgt. Richard Fuentes, was unqualified to render an expert opinion in the case, because he lacked the knowledge required to distinguish lawful from unlawful possession and transportation of marijuana, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Fuentes testified that only caregivers could transport or carry large quantities of marijuana. The law, however, states that members of a collective may transport marijuana on behalf of the group and are exempt from prosecution.

The judge agreed Fuentes was unqualified as an expert on the law and ordered the possession charge dismissed. The District Attorney's Office soon followed suit on the transportation count.

Had Doven been convicted as charged, he could have faced up to four years in prison.

"Although justice was delayed, I am thankful it wasn't denied," Doven told the Los Angeles Times, after Superior Court Judge William Sterling ordered the possession charge to be dismissed.

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