Friday, May 23, 2014

California Court Limits Scope Of Medical Marijuana Laws

With the passage of the marijuana compassionate use laws several years ago there has been a plethora of legal cases defining how far reaching the statute applies to criminal and DUI marijuana offenses, this cases limits the ability of growers and distributors inasmuch as the person cannot simply cultivate and thereafter sell limitless amount of pot with legal immunity.

In People vs. Mitchell, The defendant formed a non-profit corporation to cultivate marijuana and projected being paid as much as 60k annually for the marijuana. He then entered into two contracts to grow marijuana every month and sell it to a for-profit corporation, the K.I.M. Collective, that operated a medical marijuana collective of which he was personally a member. Police discovered his extensive marijuana growing facility and he was convicted of marijuana cultivation (Health & Saf. Code, § 11358). On appeal, he contended that he was entitled to the protections of Health and Safety Code section 11362.775 of the MMPA. Held: Affirmed. Section 11362.775 provides that specified persons "who associate within the State of California in order collectively or cooperatively to cultivate marijuana for medical purposes, shall not solely on the basis of that fact be subject" to certain criminal sanctions, including section 11358. However, no individual or group may cultivate medical marijuana for profit. 

In this case, the defendant was not convicted solely because of his collective or cooperative marijuana cultivation. He admitted that he intended to gain tens of thousands of dollars from his cultivation operation, expected to live off the income, and expected to be compensated for his expenses. He entered into contracts to provide marijuana to a for-profit corporation and his own corporation had no relationship with the K.I.M. Collective other than as a supplier of marijuana. Additionally, the other principal defenses available under the medical marijuana laws do not apply to the accused because the amount of marijuana he possessed exceeded the amount reasonably necessary for appellant's personal use, there was no evidence he was a primary caregiver, and the defense related to compensation for actual expenses does not apply to violations of section 11358. Thanks to (CCAP)