The 2003 law that limited the amount of medical marijuana possessed by any one person at a time was struck down by the California Supreme Court last week. The legislation had set limits at no more than 8 ounces or 6 mature plants. The court determined this law violated the original medical marijuana legislation passed in 1996.
While at initial glance it seems this ruling may have clarified things for the medical marijuana community, a closer look reveals the lines are quite possibly even more muddled now.
As the Sacramento Bee reports, the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 stated that individuals who have their physician’s approval can possess “an amount of medical marijuana reasonable necessary” for their medical needs. What is considered a “reasonable amount” is to be left up to the criminal courts (should someone be charged with a marijuana offense) for the time being.
Although the Supreme Court’s decision does bar the state from having predetermined limits, it doesn’t preclude local communities from doing the same. Here’s the kicker: while a city may limit the amount that can be possessed and even arrest someone for being over that limit, they can’t be charged or imprisoned for being over the said limit. This is because there is no state law limiting the amount under the new ruling.
So, while a city like Oakland can arrest you for having more than their limit of 3 pounds, unless you are in violation of another state law, you cannot be charged criminally with being over this limit.
Medical marijuana laws are quite confusing and in what seems to be a constant state of flux. When facing any criminal marijuana charges, whether you have your doctor’s approval or not, you need an experienced defense attorney with an up to date knowledge of both the local and state legal systems.