Visalia Times-Delta (California)
BYLINE: DAVID CASTELLON
Tulare County, CA
It was the last thing you'd expect to see outside the Tulare County Courthouse in Visalia: a man and his lawyer carting out glass jars filled with marijuana.
The marijuana belonged to Richard Daleman, who on March 27 was acquitted by a jury of growing and selling marijuana.
A judge ruled last week that the medical marijuana confiscated from him in December by Tulare County sheriff's detectives had to be returned.
Daleman, 61, and his county public defender, Andy Rubinger, retrieved the marijuana Wednesday from the court-house evidence room. It came out to just more than 12 pounds, Daleman said.
"There were about 3 ounces missing," he said.
Earlier in the day, Daleman had collected growing lights and other equipment from a sheriff's facility north of Visalia.
Daleman, who had a doctor's recommendation to grow and use marijuana to treat severe pain from arthritis and old injuries, was all smiles as he rolled his marijuana from the courthouse to the parking lot - using carts provided by court personnel. He emptied it into plastic trash bags before weighing it.
"They did a good job of keeping it," said Daleman said, who detected no mold and said it remains good to use for his pain treatment.
Sheriff's narcotics detectives arrested Daleman in December at his home north of Visalia.
Though the Compassionate Use of Marijuana Act, passed by California voters in 1996, allows those people with a doctor's recommendation to possess and grow marijuana for medicinal purposes, disputes over interpretation of the state law have resulted in several arrests.
In some cases federal law enforcement agencies have arrested medical-marijuana users and growers under federal drug laws.
Prosecutors delayed returning the marijuana after Daleman's acquittal, saying they wanted clarification on how much to return. All of it, Judge Darryl Ferguson said on April 15.
Even so, it took another week to make the transfer.
"Ridiculous. They've got all these guys down there, and it seems all they do is go and buy doughnuts - and you can quote me on that," Daleman said. "I got sick of it. I told them I was going to come and get it."
Daleman spoke Wednesday morning with Undersheriff Dahl Cleek. About an hour later, the undersheriff informed Daleman he could come get his property.
Daleman said he normally puts marijuana in food, rubbing compounds and suppositories to treat his pain.
But after so long without his pain treatment, Daleman said, he planned to smoke the drug as some other medicinal users do.
"I vowed that if and when I got the weed back, that I'd let my son pack a [joint] and [I'd] take a couple of hits - which I have done," Daleman said from his home Wednesday afternoon. "I'm stoned now."
He said the hits did relieve some pain and stress - a persistent problem he's developed since being arrested and jailed for more than three months.
He said he had also prepared some of the pot to mix with witch hazel to make a rubbing compound.
Over the weekend he'll process some to add to food, Daleman said.
Daleman also is preparing his next marijuana harvest in his backyard garden. He has about 10 potted marijuana plants, donated to him by someone who read about his situation.
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