Sunday, November 9, 2014

Court Rules Police Can Search Regardless Of Marijuana Prescription

Acting on a tip from an informant and surveillance evidence, police officers obtained a warrant to search the garage of Clark's residence for evidence of a marijuana grow. Officers seized marijuana plants, cocaine, and a shotgun. Clark filed a motion suppress the evidence, arguing that his cultivation of marijuana was legal under the Act and that there were no facts presented in support of the search warrant that the cultivation was illegal. Following the denial of the motion, Clark entered a plea of guilty. On appeal, Clark argued that the trial court erred because the Act imposes an affirmative duty on investigating law enforcement officers to inquire about a suspect's status as a qualified patient or primary caregiver.  This criminal case will be viewed very closely by many DUI attorneys representing those accused of possession of pot in this state.

The Court upheld the decision. While the Act provides a defense at trial, it does not grant any immunity from arrest that would require reversal of a conviction for possession or cultivation of marijuana whenever law enforcement officers fail to conduct an adequate investigation of the defendant's status as a qualified patient or primary caregiver prior to his or her arrest. Given the holding of Mower, the court here concluded that the Act cannot be interpreted to impose an affirmative duty on law enforcement officers to investigate a suspect's status as a qualified patient or primary caregiver under the Act prior to obtaining a search warrant. Motions and trials are used to investigate the truth and legal effect of the medical marijuana defense provided under the Act. The facts in the search warrant affidavit provided sufficient probable cause to search Clark's residence, and the suppression motion was properly denied.  According to a DUI Lawyer in Bakersfield, this case presents many questions as to how far judges will allow police to go when they are legal to possess marijuana in California.