CA Supreme Court Invalidates State Limits on MMJ
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CA Supreme Court Invalidates State Limits on MMJ
Posted by CN Staff on January 22, 2010 at 06:22:12 PT
By John Hoeffel
Source: Los Angeles Times
California -- In a unanimous decision filed Thursday, the California Supreme Court struck down the state's specific limits on how much medical marijuana a patient can possess, concluding that restrictions imposed by the Legislature were an unconstitutional amendment of a voter-approved initiative.The decision, which affirmed an appellate decision, means people who have a doctor's recommendation to use marijuana can possess and cultivate as much as is "reasonably necessary."
The court invalidated a provision of a 2003 state law passed to clarify the initiative. Under that law, patients or their primary caregivers could have no more than eight ounces of dried marijuana and grow no more than six mature or 12 immature plants. The law, however, allowed patients to have more than that if they had a statement from a doctor that the amount was insufficient."I'm very pleased. They gave us exactly what we wanted," said Gerald F. Uelmen, a law professor at Santa Clara University who argued the case for Patrick K. Kelly, a medical marijuana patient from Lakewood.Medical marijuana advocates and defense attorneys said the court's decision could make it harder for prosecutors to win convictions because they will no longer be able to tell juries that a defendant had more medical marijuana than the law allows."The big impact is going to be the change in perception by the district attorney," said Allison B. Margolin, a Los Angeles attorney. "It's going to be difficult for a narcotics expert to testify that an amount is unreasonable."The state's 1996 medical marijuana initiative, known as the Compassionate Use Act, put no limit on the amount of cannabis a patient could possess or cultivate other than to require that it be "personal medical purposes."Seven years later, the Legislature passed a law to create medical marijuana identification cards to help protect patients from arrest and included the limits on possession and cultivation.The justices concluded that the state Constitution bars the Legislature from changing an initiative approved by voters, but also appeared to rue that restraint. Almost a third of the 54-page decision written by Chief Justice Ronald M. George discusses how California's initiative process places unparalleled limits on the Legislature. The decision notes that it "may well be prudent and advisable" for lawmakers to have the power to set limits.George recently gave a speech to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in which he questioned whether initiatives had become "an impediment to the effective functioning of a true democratic process."In an odd twist, Uelmen and state prosecutors argued before the court that the limits were unconstitutional.Both sides also argued that the appellate court erred when it ruled the entire section of the law that included the limits was unconstitutional. They maintained that the limits were valid as part of the state's medical marijuana identification card program."It effectively would have gutted the ID card program," said Deputy Atty. Gen. Michael Johnsen.The court agreed, concluding that the limits could still be applied to the identification card program.Medical marijuana advocates and the state attorney general's office said that means patients with ID cards are shielded from arrest for possession or cultivation if they have less than the limits in state law or the more liberal limits adopted by some cities and counties. But Chris Conrad, a court-qualified expert medical marijuana witness, said he believed the limits would also protect patients without cards."In one sense this is a call to patients to enroll in the ID card program if they want to be immune from arrest and prosecution," said Kris Hermes with Americans for Safe Access, a medical marijuana advocacy organization.The card program, however, has been largely shunned by patients who have been afraid to have their names listed in government records. Statewide, about 38,000 cards, which must be renewed annually, have been issued since the program started. In Los Angeles County, the total is 1,574.Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)Author: John HoeffelPublished: January 22, 2010Copyright: 2010 Los Angeles TimesContact: letters latimes.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives 
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Comment #16 posted by Hope on January 22, 2010 at 16:07:36 PT
Barstow, California
DA to continue medical marijuana prosecutions
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Comment #15 posted by Hope on January 22, 2010 at 14:22:39 PT
The Oakland Tribune
Barnidge: If government doesn't control marijuana, criminals will
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Comment #14 posted by greenmed on January 22, 2010 at 14:13:08 PT
Valerie and Mike Corral's statement to the court:
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Comment #13 posted by Hope on January 22, 2010 at 14:09:59 PT
Kansas Senate votes to criminalize synthetic marijuana
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Comment #12 posted by Hope on January 22, 2010 at 14:06:14 PT
WAMM agrees to drop lawsuit stemming from 2002 DEA raid on pot garden
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #11 posted by ekim on January 22, 2010 at 12:48:54 PT
good going FoM
its a waste of money.
ck out how many controlled substance arrests were made for cannabis. Kalamazoo Coalition for Pragmatic Cannabis Laws is seeking to have the Kalamazoo charter amended to make the possession of 1 ounce or less of usable marijuana by those 21 and older "the lowest priority" for local law enforcement
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Comment #10 posted by herbdoc215 on January 22, 2010 at 12:32:09 PT
Sorry about link thing, I keep forgetting
about them would think in this day and age that newspapers would want their stories out everywhere as long as the source was quoted correctly? No wonder these dinosaurs newspapers are going out of business everywhere, cutting back on real reporters and regurgitating state issued Pravda-style communiques from on high? Glad to see you up and about today...peace, steve
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on January 22, 2010 at 12:01:40 PT
Hope and BGreen
Thank you both so much. I'm spending more time in bed today. The Anesthesiologist called and talked to Stick. She wanted to know how I was doing. Stick said she gets up and walks around then needs to lay down with the ice pack. She was happy that I was getting along so well. I hope I'm not missing any important articles.
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Comment #8 posted by Hope on January 22, 2010 at 11:07:11 PT
It makes me happy, too.Except that I forgot to report to her Rottweiler forum like I'd told her I'd do.She's back so fast, though... they probably thought she was kidding about having surgery.Nobody ever said she wasn't amazing.
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Comment #7 posted by BGreen on January 22, 2010 at 09:43:45 PT
I hate to sound like a broken record, but
It just warms my heart to check in today and see FoM is here just like normal.Yes, sirree, it makes me so happy that you're here.The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #6 posted by Sam adams on January 22, 2010 at 08:39:13 PT
can you imagine
>>>George recently gave a speech to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in which he questioned whether initiatives had become "an impediment to the effective functioning of a true democratic process."Wow! this is 1984 stuff! The people voting to make laws is now an "impediment" to democracy.perhaps we should just bring back a Royal King, would that remove all the "impediments" to "true" democracy?The issue of cannabis is the best demonstration available of the critical need for referendums as a check on the power of the corrupted 2-party system.People have voted by 2 to 1 to stop arrests for marijuana and to stop arresting sick people - literally stopping the elite few from ordering armed thugs after the general population. When 70-80% of population is opposed to the law. in a "democracy"I can't think of a better example of the importance to the iniative process than medical marijuana.
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on January 22, 2010 at 08:20:45 PT
I'm sure you don't remember but it is best if you post a link to an article but not the whole article. I don't want to get in trouble so I needed to mention it.
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Comment #4 posted by Hope on January 22, 2010 at 08:19:16 PT
Oh my gosh! Comment 2, Herbdoc
That's outrageous! What in the world is going on there? Obviously they took a grand disliking to Mr. Fry! That decision is so not good. And giving enforcement forces tools they won't use? Against what they consider to be stupid, druggie, potheads? Probably won't use them? Why not? Because they are kind, and generous, and thoughtful?Oh Lord.
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Comment #3 posted by josephlacerenza on January 22, 2010 at 07:24:52 PT
Medical Marijuana Clinic in Bozeman, MT
MCN is hosting a medical marijuana clinic on the 25th of Jan. at the C'Mon Inn off I-90 off the 19th St exit. The event will be from 8am-10pm on Monday. Come check out the event it is FREE to all!! Caregivers will be on hand to sign up patients if they so desire. Montana Biotech will have a display on cannabis potency testing. There are links to the MCN website at 
come and learn more about Montana medical cannabis and the other services offered by other patients and caregivers! 
Medical Marijuana Clinic in Bozeman, MT
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Comment #2 posted by herbdoc215 on January 22, 2010 at 07:22:08 PT
Now compare the Cali decision with this POS
from the hell hole I just crawled out of...Washington State, the weeds shit, the leaders of the movementarians there are mostly crooks and con-men running rigged business, and now to top it all off this Bullshit Supreme Court decision, now this is called getting out of dodge in the nick of time and now I see why all the bs on me even after the coppers walked away! It always comes out in the wash! peace, steve tuckPot ruling may not have big impact on SeattleSupporters of Washington's medical-marijuana law say Thursday's ruling by the state Supreme Court allowing police to arrest a patient or search his home is a major setback. But exactly how it'll play out in increasingly pot-friendly Seattle isn't so clear.By Mark RahnerSeattle Times staff reporterSupporters of Washington's medical-marijuana law say Thursday's ruling by the state Supreme Court allowing police to arrest a patient or search his home is a major setback. But exactly how it will play out in increasingly pot-friendly Seattle isn't so clear.The state's law, the court determined, doesn't protect those with a medical authorization from an arrest or search, and only allows them to present a medical-marijuana defense after the fact at a trial.The 8-1 ruling upheld the conviction of Stevens County resident Jason Fry, arrested in 2004 for having 2 pounds of pot.The justices said sheriff's officers who smelled marijuana smoke at his home had probable cause to believe a crime was committed  even after Fry presented them with an authorization from his doctor. In that case, a Stevens County judge had ruled Fry wasn't a qualifying patient.Thursday's decision specified that a judge must allow a jury to decide whether someone is a qualifying patient under the law.In Fry's case, his conviction stands because a defense lawyer also conceded that Fry's anxiety and depression didn't qualify him for medical pot under the law.Dissenting Justice Richard Sanders argued that state voters intended to protect qualifying patients from being denied "any right or privilege" for their use of marijuana when they passed Initiative 692 in 1998, which legalized the use of marijuana for people suffering from terminal and debilitating illnesses.A decade later in 2008, the state established a limit of 24 ounces of usable marijuana and 15 plants for a qualifying patient's 60-day supply.Thursday's ruling was "a disaster for us," said Steve Sarich, executive director of the Kirkland-based patient-advocacy group, CannaCare."It basically says that no matter what, they can arrest you at will, prosecute you at will, put you through the system, and cost you thousands in legal fees, even though they know you're a legal patient. That's just wrong. We are guilty until we can prove ourselves innocent."The effect of the decision, Sarich said, will be to "embolden police and prosecutors  at least outside of King County  to continue to arrest and prosecute innocent patients."In Seattle, it's possible the ruling won't stop any patients from using marijuana  but simply gives options to law enforcement that are unlikely to be used.advertisingSince voters approved a measure in 2003, pot busts have been the lowest priority for Seattle police. Department spokesman Sgt. Sean Whitcomb said Thursday that "marijuana enforcement is still our lowest priority per city law."New Mayor Mike McGinn has said he supports legalizing marijuana in Washington, and state Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson, D-Seattle, sponsored a bill to legalize pot and sell it in state-run liquor stores to people 21 and older.Her bill, along with one proposing marijuana possession be reduced from a criminal to a civil offense, were voted down Wednesday by the House Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Committee.Meanwhile, new City Attorney Pete Holmes is making good on his campaign promise to dismiss marijuana-possession cases including ones that were already under way. He's taking action this week not to charge any misdemeanor pot possession  which is less than 40 grams  said spokeswoman Kathy Mulady.Holmes didn't have a chance to thoroughly read Thursday's decision but noted of the Fry ruling, "I might have made a different decision on whether to prosecute this case at all."Steve Trinen, an attorney in the Pierce County Prosecutor's Office, argued the case before the Supreme Court and said he agreed with the finding, but added the Legislature should clarify the law to better protect legitimate patients.For example, he said, lawmakers could set out procedures for getting medical-marijuana authorization, "a large number of which appear to be dubious at best," or based on very cursory examinations.How the law shakes out in the rest of the state remains to be seen, but Sarich said he hears every day about suffering patients whose homes are constantly raided by police."This is the year that medical-marijuana patients are going to fight back. We've hired attorneys and are going to start suing," Sarich said.Material from The Associated Press was included in this report. Mark Rahner: 206-464-8259 or mrahner
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Comment #1 posted by runruff on January 22, 2010 at 06:50:38 PT
OT [still drreaming]
I woke up this morning with the funniest thought.I wonder if Christians are mad when they wake up after death and find out they're still dead? 
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