$5,525 check issued for confiscated pot plants

The Associated Press
Friday November 30, 2001

ONTARIO — A man who says he uses marijuana for medicinal purposes received $5,525 from his insurance company after arguing that the backyard crop police ripped up was covered by his homeowner’s policy. 

Ontario police seized the plants from David Fawcett’s back yard last May. 

Fawcett, who said he uses marijuana everyday to treat his chronic depression, argued that the theft of trees, shrubs and other plants are covered by his policy. 

Fawcett, 46, recently received his check from National General. 

Pete Moraga, a spokesman for the Insurance Information Network of California, said such claims are becoming more common since California voters passed Proposition 215 in 1996, allowing the medicinal use of marijuana with a doctor’s authorization. 

“This is an issue that keeps coming up,” Moraga said. “It has been covered by major carriers in the past but some also have chosen not to cover it.” 

Fawcett said he used most of the money to pay off old debts – including $1,000 he borrowed to post bail after his marijuana arrest. 

The San Bernardino County district attorney’s office did not press charges but referred the case to the Drug Enforcement Administration to determine if Fawcett violated federal law. So far he has not been charged. 

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that federal law does not recognize the medicinal use of marijuana.