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Following a marijuana theft, police found the merchandise and returned the stolen pot to a Maine grower.
Thomas Davis, a state-licensed marijuana caregiver, had his house burglarized this week. Aaron Pert allegedly broke into Davis' greenhouse and stole 17 marijuana plants valued at about $13,000.
Unlike illegal growers of marijuana, Davis reported the crime which led police to the 32-year-old Pert.
Police reportedly questioned Pert about the burglary and he admitted to stealing the plants, reports the Bangor Daily News. He now faces charges of burglary, theft, and illegal possession of a firearm.
Police say that Pert broke into Davis' greenhouse by cutting two large openings. He then used clippers to remove the mature, flowering branches from the large plants, reports the Daily News.
After the burglary, Pert allegedly stashed the pot branches in the woods. When he admitted the crime, Pert reportedly told police where the drugs were stashed. The question then arose as to who should have possession of the marijuana.
Because marijuana is illegal under federal law, Maine police were unsure whether they should return the plants to Davis. So the police held onto the plants for several days. In the meantime, Davis was eager to recover the plants as the plants reportedly have a short shelf life outside of the greenhouse.
After two days, the Ellsworth Police Chief made the decision to return the marijuana plants. It was reasoned that Davis met state requirements to grow the plants, and so should have the right to repossess the plants following a burglary. The chief said that returning the marijuana to Davis was legal "as far as he was concerned," reports the Daily News.
Davis said that he hopes the chief's decision to return the plants will set a precedent for future local police departments to view medical marijuana the same way they'd view any other stolen medicine. Unless the federal government challenges the local police department, the police chief's decision will likely stand.