Sonoma Man to Sue for Stolen Marijuana

A Sonoma man is attempting to receive the cash value for six pounds of pot stolen during a home invasion robbery.

Medical marijuana isn't cheap. Just ask the Sonoma County man, who is planning to sue the men convicted of robbing him of six pounds of pot for $18,000.

That's in a court of law. A real court, with a judge who has allowed Michael Steffens of Healdsburg, 51, to seek restitution for his stolen pot, according to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

It's believed to be the first case of its kind in the state, according to the newspaper. Other  medical cannabis patients have sued police for return of weed, and others have been compensated by law enforcement for damaged or lost pot. But very rarely does the victim of a theft -- where marijuana is the item stolen -- report to police the crime, for fear of falling afoul of the law him or herself, according to reports.

Steffens is a carpenter who smokes pot for back pain, the newspaper reported. He was beaten and robbed by four men dressed as police officers who beat him and bound him with a telephone cord before robbing him of six pounds in fall 2009.

The robbers were all found, arrested, tried, and convicted, according to the newspaper. Yet Steffens has since then been attempting to receive restitution, including a payout for post-traumatic stress disorder his lawyer says he's suffered since the incident, the newspaper reported.

County officials have blocked the receipt of those benefits, prompting accusations that since Steffens was a medical marijuana user, he's being denied benefits.

A court hearing will be held Feb. 14 in which Steffens may be called to testify to show that the pot was possessed legally under California's Compassionate Use Act.

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