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  1. Terrapinzflyer
    California Supreme Court strikes down limits on medical marijuana possession

    The California Supreme Court today struck down the state's limits on how much medical marijuana a patient can possess, concluding that the restrictions imposed by the Legislature were an unconstitutional amendment of a 1996 voter-approved initiative.

    The decision means that patients and caregivers with a doctor's recommendation to use marijuana can now possess as much as is "reasonably related to the patient's current medical needs," a standard that the court established in a 1997 decision.

    "I'm very pleased. They gave us exactly what we wanted," said Gerald F. Uelmen, a law professor at Santa Clara University who argued the case for Patrick K. Kelly, a medical marijuana patient from Lakewood who was convicted of possession and cultivation. "This makes it very clear that all of the rights of patients under the Compassionate Use Act are fully preserved."

    The initiative did not limit the amount of marijuana that a patient could possess or cultivate other than to require it be "personal medical purposes."

    In 2003, the Legislature passed a law intended to clarify the initiative and give guidance to patients and law enforcement officials. The Legislature decided that patients could have up to 8 ounces of dried marijuana and grow as many as six mature or 12 immature plants. The law also allowed a patient to have more if a doctor stated that amount was insufficient.

    The court concluded that those restrictions improperly amended the Compassionate Use Act, which was approved by voters and includes no provision that allows the Legislature to amend it.

    -- John Hoeffel
    January 21 2010


  1. Greenport
    It's amazing how cali stays at the forefront of this movement :)

    Wish swiM's state woulda passed those bills the other day..it's really time for all the states (and even the federal) to change their laws and views..
  2. Terrapinzflyer
    Many in CA are actually a little concerned with this ruling. In some parts of CA 25 plants were legally allowed- allowing many to pull down 50-75 pounds a year. It is unlikely they would be able to convince law enforcement, a judge, or a jury that their medical conditions require a pound to a pound and a half a week.

    Ultimately- it is probably a good decision for the true medical marijuana patients, not so good for those accustomed to hiding behind a med card.

    The saga continues...
  3. chillinwill
    Medical marijuana growers score a defense

    In San Francisco, people who grow their own medical marijuana and their attorneys are celebrating the recent California Supreme Court decision that overturned the law limiting possession to 8 ounces. The court found that patients can have as much as they need for personal use, just as Proposition 215 dictated in 1996.

    A San Francisco attorney, Omar Figueroa, has seen the first of what he predicts will be many criminal cases dismissed, based on the ruling. His clients, Johanna and Joe Azevedo, were arrested in Vacaville in December 2008 for cultivating more than 8 ounces. Johanna had secured a medical marijuana card six years prior to help with scoliosis and liver disease, and, later, a bout with breast cancer. Joe, who works in San Francisco as a door installer, had a medical marijuana card for back problems and arthritis. The couple grew their own pot in their home, and, based on the now-defunct law, "we had more than you were supposed to," Joe said. But it was grown solely as part of their annual supply of medicine, which they had documents to support.

    After nearly two years of legal wrangling in Solano County Superior Court that swallowed the Azevedos' savings, the state Supreme Court finally issued a ruling on another case, California v. Patrick Kelly. Kelly had been convicted of illegal possession because he exceeded the limit. After the court overturned that conviction, the Solano County district attorney's office could no longer justify its charges against the Azevedos. A spokeswoman confirmed that their case was dismissed, based on the Kelly decision.

    "It's a huge opinion," Figueroa said. "It will result in hundreds of cases getting dismissed in California." A fellow defense attorney (and medical marijuana card-holder), Tony Serra, said he had about a dozen cases that he expected would be dismissed.

    But it seems that few, if any, of those cases will be dismissed by the San Francisco district attorney's office. Spokesman Brian Buckelew said the state Supreme Court ruling has nothing to do with people who hide behind medical marijuana while selling it to recreational abusers. Predominantly, those are the people the DA's office prosecutes, he said.

    At the SFPD, a legal team is reviewing procedures for dealing with medical marijuana cases, spokesman Wilfred Williams said, and there may be changes based on the state Supreme Court decision.

    As for the Azevedos, they aren't satisfied yet. "I'll celebrate when I get my stuff [marijuana] back," Johanna said.

    By Ashley Harrell
    February 8, 2010
    San Francisco Weekly
  4. Terrapinzflyer
  5. hartleylevi
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