SB420 – California’s statutory law regarding medical marijuana

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SB420 – California’s statutory law regarding medical marijuana

SB420 is similar in nature to Proposition 215 in that both legalize medical marijuana use, cultivation and distribution in California under specific circumstances. Medical marijuana, defined under this law, consists of dry buds or conversion and not leaf, seeds or stems. Unlike Prop. 215 (also known as the Compassionate Use Act), which was passed by voters, SB420 (Senate Bill 420) was passed by the Legislature. Both are governing laws in California and don’t conflict with one another like they do with federal law, which states that all marijuana use is illegal – period.

Because the laws regulating medical marijuana are specific and complex, an individual accused of any activity regarding marijuana (especially one who was participating in the activity for medicinal purposes) should immediately contact a skilled California drug crime defense attorney to avoid the harsh penalties that can be imposed in connection with the offenses that involve this drug.

SB420 creates two classes of individuals that qualify for medical marijuana use: “qualified patients” (under Prop. 215) and persons with identification cards. Qualified patients are those whose doctors have recommended or prescribed marijuana for medical purposes for the treatment of their cancer, anorexia, AIDS, chronic pain, spasticity, glaucoma, arthritis, migraine, or any other illnesses for which marijuana may provide relief who do not hold identification cards. Persons with identification cards must list their names on a government registry (which is confidential and for verification purposes only) and provide documented proof of their doctor’s approval. Identification cards are only valid for one year and only entitle a card-holder to grow or have up to eight ounces or dried bud or conversion and six mature or twelve immature plants unless one’s doctor or community authorizes more.

It should be noted that persons without identification cards are still entitled to the protections afforded by the Compassionate Use Act, however, the police may consider those patients subject to arrest. Because the police usually arrest most individuals engaged in marijuana activity in any event, this effect may be minimal. The law specifies that those who hold valid identification cards (whether patients or caregivers) shall remain free from arrest for possession, transportation, delivery or cultivation of medical marijuana as long as the amount is authorized by law unless there is reason to believe that the information contained in the card is false or unless there is reason to believe that the card was fraudulently obtained. An individual who is convicted for fraudulent activity under this law faces a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in the county jail and a maximum $1,000 fine for a first offense and up to one year in jail and a maximum $1,000 fine for a second or subsequent offense. He or she will additionally be precluded from attempting to obtain or use an identification card for a period of up to six months at the discretion of the court.

Because the police are quick to arrest anyone suspected of having anything to do with marijuana use (regardless of whether or not it is pursuant to legitimate medical purposes), it is absolutely necessary for an individual who has been accused of such activity to immediately contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer who understands the laws and defenses that apply to medicinal marijuana cases. The outstanding criminal attorneys at The Kavinoky Law Firm specialize in California drug offenses and know what it takes to win. They have mastered this unique area of the law and are dedicated to protecting the rights of their clients charged with marijuana offenses. With law offices throughout the state, they are conveniently accessible to anyone in need of a defense attorney who is devoted to the pursuit of justice. For the most trusted legal advice and unsurpassed representation, contact them today for a free consultation.