California Compassionate Use Act (Health & Safety Code 11362.5)
On November 6, 1996, the California Compassionate Use Act (Health & Safety Code 11362.5) took effect, making it legal for patients with certain illnesses and approval from a licensed physician to possess marijuana for medicinal purposes and for their designated primary caregivers to cultivate the drug. However, even with legal protection, patients and growers continue experiencing harassment from law enforcement in the form of confiscation, arrests, and raids. Additionally, this statute does not exempt individuals from federal prosecution, although officials have stated that they will not specifically target individual patients.
If you have been arrested on marijuana-related charges despite being a patient or caregiver, consult with an experienced Santa Clarita drug crime defense attorney from The Law Offices of Daniel E. Kann. We will conduct a thorough investigation of the circumstances surrounding your case and determine whether your arrest was conducted on dubious grounds or was in violation of your rights. To learn more about what our firm can do for you, please call (888) 744-7730 for a comprehensive consultation at no cost to you.
Illnesses Covered by the Compassionate Use Act
Illnesses covered by Health & Safety Code 11362.5 include "cancer, anorexia, AIDS, chronic pain, spasticity, glaucoma, arthritis, migraine, or any other illness for which marijuana provides relief." The last part allows physicians to use their discretion when prescribing marijuana. As a result, patients may receive recommendations to treat a vast array of conditions. Insomnia, post traumatic stress disorder, depression, and substance abuse are some common examples.
Drug Cases We Handle:
- Drug Diversion/Prop. 36
- Drug Manufacturing
- Drug Possession/Possession of a Controlled Substance (HS 11350)
- Drug Sales/Transportation (HS11352)
- DUI/Drugs (VC 23152(a))
- Felony Drug Charges
- Marijuana Cultivation (HS 11358)
- Marijuana Sales (HS 11360)
- Medical Marijuana/Compassionate Use Act (HS 11362.5)
- Misdemeanor Drug Charges
- Possession for Sale (HS11351)
- Possession of Cocaine
- Possession of Ecstasy
- Possession of Heroin
- Possession of Marijuana (HS 11357)
- Possession of Meth (HS11377)
- Possession of Paraphernalia (HS11364)
- Under the Influence (PC 11550)
Limitations on Possession and Cultivation
Under Health & Safety Code 11362.5, patients technically can carry as much marijuana as is necessary. However, they should abide by the possession and cultivation guidelines set by SB 420 if they want to avoid an arrest. According to provisions in the bill, no more than six mature plants or 12 immature plants should be grown by an individual. Also, a patient should not possess more than a half pound of processed cannabis. Different cities and counties may allow higher limits, but they cannot enforce lower limits than the state standard. Furthermore, a patient may be exempted from the standard if the prescribing physician explicitly states that the patient needs more for his or her condition.
People vs. Mower
According to the landmark State Supreme Court decision made in People vs. Mower, legally attained medical marijuana should be treated as any prescribed drug would. Patients who have been arrested on dubious charges may have them dismissed if the prosecution cannot establish probable cause that the marijuana was used for recreational, rather than medicinal, purposes. If the patient goes to trial, the prosecution still has to prove "beyond a reasonable doubt" that the defendant used the marijuana in violation of Health & Safety Code 11362.5, which is difficult to say the least.
Contact an Attorney for More Information
Health & Safety Code 11362.5, along with other state and federal drug laws, is highly nuanced and it may be difficult for you to get a full grasp of all the necessary legal concepts without assistance from a knowledgeable lawyer. Call The Law Offices of Daniel E. Kann today for more information on marijuana laws in California.