Updated on January 30, 2019.
Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
Your prescription is your only way to collect your marijuana medication. In states where recreational marijuana is not yet legalized, this can make you a target for theft. Because marijuana is not yet legal at the Federal level, this can present a few problems when it comes to law enforcement, and many wonder if calling the police will result in their own arrest.
Read on to learn how to handle theft the right way.
What to Do in Case of Marijuana Theft
Report the theft to the police so there’s a report on file. Theft of your property within your home is considered residential burglary — a serious felony that should be handled by the police. However, you should be prepared for the police encounter and make sure there’s nothing on your property that would be of legal interest to the police.
Marijuana theft can be a tricky situation, since marijuana is not yet legal nationwide. If you have your Marijuana ID card or your prescription or doctor’s recommendation, this can offer you some amount of protection in many cases.
However, this doesn’t always protect you from an arrest or prosecution for possession of a controlled substance. If you’re arrested or prosecuted, your doctor’s recommendation or ID card can provide you with a defense.
If you don’t have any marijuana on your property as a result of the theft, the police will likely not arrest you, but there are no guarantees.
What to Do in Case of Marijuana Prescription Theft
Again, if you’re confident that nothing else in your home is of legal interest, report the theft immediately to both the police and your prescribing physician. If you do have marijuana or evidence of other illegal substances on your property, you may be hassled by the police depending on your region. They may insist on a search of your home, so when you call the police, be sure that all potentially problematic items are stored out of view.
If the responding officer requests proof that the prescription is yours, provide them with the contact information for your prescribing physician. You should notify your physician anyway so they can try and block the prescription from being filled.
What to Do in Case of Marijuana ID Theft
The theft of your Marijuana ID can be a serious problem — especially if it’s stolen alongside other identifying documents, like your driver’s license. Report the theft to the police as well as the ID issuer. Be sure to have your ID number ready for both the police and the ID issuer.
Most issuers require patients to notify them within five business days after a theft. This speeds up the replacement process. Unfortunately, you’ll likely have to gather all your identifying and prescribing documentation, and there’s usually a fee to replace your card. If all goes well, you should get a new card within a few weeks, though this varies widely.
If you have medical marijuana on your person or property and the police find it, there’s a chance they may arrest you. Again, have your ID number ready along with any prescribing documentation you may have on hand. This will be your best defense against being brought into custody.
Why It’s Important to Report Theft
The big issue with theft of your medical marijuana or any associating documentation is how it affects your future prescriptions. When a burglar steals your marijuana, it means you have to refill your prescription sooner than you expected, which shows up in your medical history. When a thief steals your marijuana prescription, the thief can fill a prescription in your name — and that shows up in your medical history report, too.
If your report shows a sudden uptick in prescription refills, your physician is obligated to take a closer look at your file. If they have any reason to suspect drug abuse, they will revoke your prescription. Don’t judge them too harshly for it — physicians risk losing their medical licenses if they don’t handle drug abuse appropriately.
You combat these problems best by reporting the theft immediately — both to your police department and to your physician. When you report a robbery to the police, you have it on record that your marijuana, marijuana prescription or marijuana ID card was reported as stolen. You can use the police report number to support your claim of theft and defend your case to your physician, who will already have been notified of the theft.
Keep in mind that reporting theft won’t always guarantee that your doctor won’t revoke your prescription. Filing a police report doesn’t take much more than calling the police, and you don’t need proof of theft. Many physicians have seen this same tactic used as an excuse to get more marijuana each month.
However, contacting both the police and the physician at the time of theft can help support your claim, as does photographic evidence of theft.
Legal Ramifications of Not Reporting
Not reporting theft can pose as many legal ramifications as medical ones. If your prescription or Marijuana ID card comes up in a police investigation for an illegal marijuana sale, for example, you can be implicated in the crime. If you don’t report your prescription or ID as stolen, you don’t just risk losing your prescription — you can also be charged with involvement in an illegal drug sale.
The same issue occurs if your medical marijuana ends up in the wrong hands. If police find your medical marijuana with a personal identifier, you could be charged with sale of a controlled substance. If you didn’t report the theft of the marijuana, you have no proof that the marijuana was stolen, and therefore no defense.
To learn more about the legal issues surrounding medical marijuana, visit our blog. You can also browse our directory of marijuana dispensaries to find qualified medical dispensaries near you.