News in Brief: Police Will Return Marijuana to Owner if Found



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Police are investigating a robbery so they can give a Berkeley man his marijuana back, a spokesperson said yesterday.

A man had just left the Cannabis Buyer's Cooperative on Shattuck Avenue and Woolsey Street when he was punched in the face and knocked to the street Wednesday, said Berkeley police Lt. Russell Lopes.

At 3 p.m. the man had picked up a prescription of medical marijuana, which the robber took when he looked through his pockets, Lopes said. The robber then fled on his bike.

In an ironic twist where Berkeley and federal law conflict, if police find the suspect and recover the marijuana, they will give it back to the man, Lopes said.

"He has a written prescription for it, so it's legal as far as we're concerned," Lopes said. "Even if it

wasn't medical marijuana, if you get robbed, you get robbed."

If it was illegal marijuana, the man would have been arrested as well, Lopes said.

"It's very important that medical marijuana patients and providers have police protections," said Don Duncan, who leads another medical cannabis group.

Most people do not report such robberies because they are afraid of a negative police response, he said.

The U.S. Supreme Court has recently agreed to hear a request by the Clinton administration to shut down an Oakland buyer's club, but Berkeley patients will not know the impact of the decision until next year, Duncan said.

WILL EVANS

Students Fast for 'Hunger Awareness Week'

About 800 UC Berkeley students gave up their dinners last night to help feed hungry people in the Bay Area.

As part of "Hunger Awareness Week," residents of the Unit 1, 2, 3 and Foothill residence halls embarked on a dining hall "fast." The Residence Hall Assembly and Housing and Dining Services will donate the cost of the forgone meals to the Alameda County Community Food Bank.

Instead of eating dinner, the students participated in workshops which focused on hunger in Alameda County and community service opportunities.

Donations to the program will also be accepted today at the Residence Hall Academic Centers and other campus locations.

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