Patients and caregivers

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Patients and caregivers

California has legalized medical marijuana use, cultivation and distribution for those who are seriously ill and in need of the drug (so long as they have a doctor’s recommendation or prescription for it) and for their primary caregivers. These laws are detailed in Proposition 215 – also known as the Compassionate Use Act – and Senate Bill 420. While California has legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes, any use of the drug is still prohibited by federal law. As a result, an individual living in California who has the right to use, grow or distribute medical marijuana may still be brought up on federal charges. It should also be noted that such an individual may still be arrested in California by his or her local police department, as law enforcement is quick to arrest those who have any dealings with this drug. These are just a few of the reasons why it is necessary for an individual who has been arrested for any activity dealing with marijuana to contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer who specializes in drug offenses.

SB420 expands the Compassionate Use Act to allow caregivers to have more than one patient in their home county but still restricts caregivers to one patient if their patient lives out of their county. The law protects qualified patients, patients with identification cards and their primary caregivers from prosecution for using, transporting or processing small amounts of medical marijuana and makes it more difficult for prosecutors to charge them with intent to sell. As previously mentioned, law enforcement officials may nonetheless arrest an individual who participates in these activities, but the law is designed to protect these individuals, so long as they follow the rules that are associated with its use and growth. As for possession or growth, a patient or his or her caregiver may possess or grow up to eight ounces of dried bud or conversion (not leaf, seeds or stems) and up to six mature or twelve immature plants unless a doctor or the community have authorized more.

Qualified patients are those who have a doctor’s permission to use marijuana for medical purposes. They are entitled to possess and cultivate marijuana, so long as it is in accordance with a doctor’s recommendation. Persons with an identification card hold government issued cards that entitle them to the same protections as qualified patients, but in exchange for the card, the rules regarding the marijuana use are more strictly regulated. Primary caregivers are persons, designated by a qualified patient or by a person with an identification card, who have consistently assumed responsibility for the housing, health or safety of that patient. Primary caregivers must be at least 18 years old (unless they are the parents of a minor child who is a qualified patient or a person with an identification card or the caregiver is otherwise entitled to make legal medical decisions) and may be private caretakers if so designated by a patient, a licensed clinic or health care facility, a residential care facility for the elderly, a hospice or a licensed home health agency.

These definitions and law apply to California state law. Cities and counties can adopt and enact their own legislation that regulates medicinal marijuana use, possession and cultivation to supplement these existing laws. As mentioned above, current law only permits a patient or caregiver to possess or grow up to eight ounces of dried bud or conversion (not leaf, seeds or stems) and up to six mature or twelve immature plants. Depending on where one lives, the local citizens or lawmakers of that city or county may have expanded those amounts.

The bottom line is that although California has legalized the use of medical marijuana, the laws and their enforcement are still flawed. The outstanding criminal attorneys at The Kavinoky Law Firm are here to help. They have mastered the area of drug crime defense and know how to effectively convey a medical marijuana defense to judges and jurors. For unsurpassed representation, contact them today for a free consultation.