California Supreme Court: State's Marijuana Possession Limits Are A Floor, Not A Ceiling

California’s Supreme Court issued its long awaited opinion today regarding the constitutionality of state-imposed limits regarding the amount of marijuana patients may legally possess and grow.
In it’s 53-page decision, the Court unanimously ruled that the state’s guidelines, enacted in 2004, should not preclude patients from receiving legal protections in court if they possess cannabis in quantities above those recommended under state law (six mature or twelve immature plants and/or eight ounces) or county law.

The People v. Patrick K. Kelly in the Supreme Court of California
[excerpt] “Whether or not a person entitled to register under the [2004 state law] elects to do so, that individual, so long as he or she meets the definition of a patient or primary caregiver under the CUA (Compassionate Use Act of 1996), retains all the rights afforded by the CUA. Thus, such a person may assert, as a defense in court, that he or she possessed or cultivated an amount of marijuana reasonably related to meet his or her current medical needs … without reference to the specific quantitative limitations specified by the [2004 state law.]

In short, the Court affirmed that the state’s guidelines in no way override the sweeping legal protections provided under Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act of 1996. As long as a patient possess quantities of cannabis that are “related to meet his or her current medical needs,” then they are legally protected under state law — regardless of whether or not these quantities are in accordance with state-imposed or locally-imposed guidelines.
In a separate legal issue before the Court, justices further ruled that provisions enacted by the Legislature allowing for counties to establish a voluntary identification system for legally recognized patients did not infringe upon the intent of the 1996 voter-approved initiative.
So precisely what does this decision mean for California patients and providers? Aaron Smith provides an excellent summation here. The bottom line: patients in California have a legal right to possess and use marijuana in the way that is in best accordance with their medical treatment, as decided by the patient and his or her doctor — not by state or local legislators.

0 thoughts

  1. When is legislature going to begin the process in other states such as South Carolina. I am a person who suffers from Fibromyalgia and it defiantly helps with the pain and discomfort of this condition.
    Now that I have had it 25 years I wish they would get real about the whole RX controversy. Big Drug companies pay lobbyists top dollar to rush some of their garbage through FDA trials so they can make money off of people like me with blatant disregard for our safety.
    I could begin a list of everything from pain medications to anti depressants to yes even birth control. Alcohol is more addictive than marijuana I guess legislators don’t want to give up the 5 martini lunch on our dime yet. Still alcohol cost billions in rehabilitation and lives lost and family grief. Take the rose colored glasses off Washington. We are regular taxpayers not stoned just for fun. Legal regulation for sale and distribution would cheapen the DEA bill and also cut down some of the violence. Not to mention your child would than need an ID to purchase it so that will not be happening on school grounds anymore as long as responsible adults lock it up. Who am I kidding most children are stoned on pills from the medicine chest in the bathroom these days.

  2. With the removal of limits,a patient or caregiver can grow enough in natures grow cycle to provide for a 1 year supply. By using the sun and outdoors to grow in,
    a patient or caregiver reduces the expense and time consuming labor involved with growing indoors.
    Many more patients will be able to grow their own,because they could not afford all the equipment required to grow.

  3. I believe that Marijuana should be legalized for all Us citizens (18 and older); whether or not they have an under-lying medical problem that allows them to posses and ingest marijuana. Every person who decides at a legal age of 18 that they wish to indulge in marijuana then, they should be able to do so without consequence. I say 18 because that’s the age where the state and federal government already recognizes a citizen as an adult. No more selective legality. All legal US citizens, at least 18 yrs of age, should be allowed to smoke or ingest marijuana whether or not they posses medical needs for it. The notion that marijuana was banned in the first place is sickening. The government wanted to criminalize marijuana because oil companies and plastic companies knew that weed could be used to redesign and replace their existing products causing the “big Oil Companies” to go bankrupt and they couldn’t have that. So, in turn, the head companies with the most influence and money paid off the government and convinced them that marijuana is as bad as doing heroin. Eh!, wrong! weed is no where near the dangerousness or addictiveness as a controlled substance like heroin or methamphetamine. legalize, not legal lies. Bring back legalized marijuana!! our economy and constituent citizens will thank you.

  4. Cali. said it first . We’re tired of listening to the lies that spew forth out of D.A.T. NORML is doing an excellent job by continuing to bring us these news stories & i urge your support of NORML .
    In other news i just signed a contract
    with Jeremy F. Lacy of :
    ” Cameo Entertainment Group ” a World – wide radio station based out of Massachusetts in which i will be delivering the TRUTH about marijuana to ( i think they said ) 3.4 million listeners Worldwide . I will have the power to change how the World thinks about Marijuana .
    I ask for your support and listenership . With it ,
    WE WILL AT LAST DEFEAT THE GREAT SATAN with his many lies and deceptions. & free all those in Prison & those who are prosecuted & executed by simple Marijuana crimes . Prosecuting anyone for a gift given by God ( Marijuana ) is truly the work of the Devil .
    More to follow later .

  5. marijuana helps me to eat, and allayed me of my chronic alcohol problem. All the talk and propaganda and the simple fact that one product is legal and the other is not fed my mind to think that somehow MJ would damage my mind more than alcohol could. Whereas I became to develop physical and mental sickness, and it would botch up whole days, being worn out by drinking. But I ingest a little MJ and am completely capable going about my day, and no hangover or withdrawal. Actually I feel recharged and renewed.

  6. it is about time. i am tired of my local sheriffs, the most corrupt in the world, the san luis obispo county sheriffs,the same ones who put charlie lynch in jail, telling me they dont think i should be a medical marijuana patient. leave it to our doctors please

  7. #3 you hit the nail on the head…the grow cycle. there is a time to plant, and a time to harvest, and enough to last for a year. under Gods warmth. legislatives are doing there best to interfere and interject control, and they will continue to do so. they’ve been in charge so long they actually believe there own propaganda. with this court ruling,anyone who owns a piece of dirt, or a bucket big enough to chase the sun, will be able to grow their own. praise God. now keep on fighting for your God given rights, recognized by the framers of our U.S. Constitution.

  8. Yes! I agree, marijuana aught to be legalized for recreational and medical uses for anyone eighteen or older. My father is diagnosed bipolar, has a back so broken he can barely walk, and is in third stage hep. c. He moved to Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina because the trauma was too severe. I can say whole heartedly that medical marijuana would alleviate his depression, would act as a pain killer and also INCREASE HIS APPETITE. He has bouts of fever and does not eat for days. The pharmaceutical drugs prescribed are killing him in my opinion. His liver is hardly functioning.
    I am positive similar cases exist across America… and yet the penalty for growing a completely natural herb for recreational or medical use in most states is incredibly severe.
    … I have a feeling my father will continue to suffer and take prescribed painkillers that are harmful to his already weak liver. I have a feeling he will be dead before Mississippi ever shines any light on the subject of the magic of medical marijuana.

  9. It’s wonderful to hear such rational, common sense decisions coming from a higher court. I wonder how these judges escaped the fearful propaganda that still infests so many of their counterparts in other states and, of course, in the Supreme Court in DC.
    As California leads the way and allows marijuana to be more and more openly used, the fears of the prohibitionist culture will be exposed as just plain silly.

  10. If Lepp was within state law on medical marijuana,except that he was over the set limits,he should be able too
    appeal.

  11. Our nation can acknowledge the dangers of cigarettes, alcohol and marijuana while still permitting their use. The only logically and morally consistent argument for marijuana prohibition necessitates the criminalization of all harmful recreational drugs, including alcohol, nicotine and caffeine. We can agree that such an infringement on personal freedoms is as impractical as it is un-American. The time has come to accept that our nation’s attitude toward marijuana has been misguided for generations and that the only rational approach to cannabis is to legalize, regulate and tax it.
    Dr. Nathan, a psychiatrist in Princeton, N.J., is a clinical assistant professor at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

  12. So if you own a collective you have 40 members, you end up with 20 lbs of medicine from them, the police come in and bust you, saying they consider it to much, is their argument now mute? Your collective is following california guidelines, and all members have a valid Medical card and script. This is the issue, my collective is presently facing.

  13. Sa., 01/23/10
    The legislative/political history of the American anti-drug laws is steeped in White racism and outright hysteria. And very little pharmacology. . .
    In the mid 1960’s, when the children of White doctors, lawyers, judges, and politicians were caught with a few joints and faced draconian prison terms,many State legislatures somewhat softened those penalties. After all, it was o.k. to send Black and Latino marihuana users to many years in “the joint.”
    Sometimes the cure is worse than the disease, and American’s anti-drug policy very aptly illustrates that point.

  14. This isgreat news. Now how about the forfeiture law ,how do we get back money taken when it has nothing to do with pot. We recently returned from a.vac. in nevada, we had 9,000, taken from our things during an unjustified traffic stop, they found less than an oz. of potand we both have ca. cards. but the officer still searched and found money which we won, and money we had on trip. the first thing he did was call in forfeiture so now even though the case will be closed, we are told we have to file civil suit to get it back. most of which always lose the case.we should begiven back all possessions if dropped, why dont we. calif. forfeiture laws dont even give you a chance because its a totally different court,civil, not criminal.it has totally ruined us financially,how many others have had the same thing happen to them.we need to protect a citizens right to carry cash without it automatically being forfeited before your even found guilty of crime!

  15. Yes I have had the same problem ! The Antioch police , officer detective josh vincelet #3416! case #158204-8 June 19 2008 in the city of Brentwood CA 94513 . I have a MARIJUANA PRESCRIPITON , I had in a shed 48 small plants and about the same in a box drying when he raided my house and took $76.000 & a 2005 yamaha r1 , from me i have buisness for 15 years and own my home were i was growing . my pg&e was not tapped . this has cost me $109.000 in lawyer fees and 48.000 in bail i was in jail for a toltal of 44 days and they left my house open so it got robbed ! I have had three court dates for the forfeiture case and they say they keep putting it back for a nother date . I have trial on MARCH 08 2010 in the city of martinez california before I have my civil case for my forfeiture so i cant even get my money or bike back a designed move to make it hard on me to live and fight for my rights . My two litte girls have had to see all this and live this also . I need help and i would like to invite any and all to my next court date for support ! I have no record at all and i’m a single father who kids dont need there dad in jail for my legal weed ! I also went on a vacation with this cops ex girlfriend two weeks before i got raided . he was a married man while dating this girl !! cheater !! i have so much proof of his illegal policing and lies . real proof .. PLEASE HELP ME AND MY KIDS .. rafael hernandez brentwood california (925)521-4901

  16. The drug laws were designed and enacted in 1928 prior to that this Country did just fine on getting and maintaining their high. The legislatures of our country felt their duty to give the rest of us common folk a moral standard by their calculations that we can live our lives by. Had the Alcohol Tobacco & Firearms take it over from the FBI. Now the job is done by the DEA. Worried if the population indulged in substance use that we the commoners would be immoral in other aspects of our lives.
    You can be sober and still be a whore, lie, a thief and a murderer. If it is impairment of judgment that is the issue. Than we should ask what kind of drugs were being done while tax payer dollars were given to a huge international company with no questions asked.Don’t you think the CEO s are getting pretty high on those big fat bonuses.
    Besides doesn’t the EPA know there is a great deal of earth friendly uses for the entire plant. Everything from car parts to biodegradable shopping bags. Besides our farmers could have an additional rotation crop and we would pay them less subsidies to not plant stuff. America use to use the stems to make rope. Since the practice has stopped I understand there is none of the original breeder seeds in the national depository like there is for every other plant. There is more at stake here than just some people using for medical purposes.

  17. I agree Karen. We forget sometimes that we are Americans. That we use a mild euphoric herb that gives the user a brief sense of well being should not be a reason to suspend our rights as Americans. In our hysteria and fear we have invited the government to kick down the doors to our homes, arrest and fine us, jail and take our property and money…and sometimes even our children. All for what? The heart of the debate is and always has been…what a responsible adult chooses to do in his home, while harming no one else, should be of no concern to our government. We have allowed our government, through fear and intimidation, to bust into our homes at any time in an effort to prevent us from simply using cannabis. If I am growing my own, if I am not selling it or giving it to minors then it becomes a victimless event…should this be the concern of our lawmakers? Legalize cannabis for personal use in our own homes.

  18. If one is able to obtain medical records (I have had rhuematoid arthritis for 20 years) is it possible then to go to a state which has medical marijuana and obtain it there? I suppose it would be a little risky driving back to my state but I am willing to take the risk. Thanks for any possible information.

  19. If one is able to obtain medical records (I have had rhuematoid arthritis for 20 years) is it possible then to go to a state which has medical marijuana and obtain it there? I suppose it would be a little risky driving back to my state but I am willing to take the risk. Thanks for any possible information regarding this.

  20. “Hopefully this will help NJ with the 2 ounces per month limit on our new law.”

    Sorry, this decision will have zero effect on the recently passed law in NJ as it relates to NJ 2oz per month limits. You should be thankful it was not the 1oz originally in the bill. There will be no material changes to the NJ bill for the next couple years, bank on it.

  21. #17 “So if you own a collective you have 40 members, you end up with 20 lbs of medicine from them, the police come in and bust you, saying they consider it to much, is their argument now mute? Your collective is following california guidelines, and all members have a valid Medical card and script. This is the issue, my collective is presently facing.”
    —-
    No.
    What this rules does do however is give you back a defense. The judge or jury can still rule it’s “an unreasonable” amount. What the DA’s office can’t do is say you violated the state law of 8oz or whatever, they now have to claim “unreasonable”. The court has basically said the state law is not allowed to defined “reasonable” it’s now up to the courts.
    Net result – a lot of borderline cases will be dropped at the DA level, but the arrests will probably continue.

  22. i can really feel for those of you who live where it isnt legal for medical use.
    i guess they would rather you be totally zoned out of your mind on pain killers that make it impossible to function on an everday basis. at least with marijuana you can control how medicated you want to be and still be a part of everyday life. pretty stupid to prefer citizens to be on prescription drugs like oxycotin which theyd much rather see you addicted to. at least I know I dont go thru withdrawals on marijuana and most often it puts you in a happy state instead of a bad one once your out of painkillers.not to mention if u could grow it yourself it might not cost you the small fortune being on prescription drugs. guess drug drug comp. would lose too much money.

  23. Yes, STRICT limits on the amount of marijuana that a single person can possess should not be set. If it is reasonable for an adult to possess one ounce of pot, what is so wrong with possessing 2 ounces, in case the crop fails? And if we are permitted to grow 25 square feet of marijuana, how does that, or even a single plant, keep to that limit? A single plant might weigh what, a pound or two? That should be an acceptable amount to possess. Pot smokers don’t smoke more pot just because they possess more. And in a world where a personal supply is reasonably inexpensive, the black market market will dry up. Excess stock will not be sold there. Unlike our oppressors with their alcohol, we don’t usually smoke to excess, either.
    The Capitalist establishment objects to pot, and schemes to restrict it as much as possible, because they cannot patent it, possess it (as a product), and ruthlessly exploit it for outsize profits. It is a cheap material which might cut deeply into their exorbitant PATENTABLE profits from plastics, fibers and pharmaceutical drugs. They reject it for the same reason they reject anything they can’t turn to their own, private advantage. It’s about time we throw off this oppression.
    But that’s only part of the story. They are supported by bigots who reject marijuana because it is popular with Blacks, Mexicans and hippies, groups which they object to and seek to punish, as much for their different clothing, customs and mores, as for fear of harm from the drug. Prohibition is an act of discrimination.
    We must be sure to win the November initiative in California. That will be the foot in the door which will lead to legalization in other states, and eventually to the reform of the federal laws. That will be a tipping point to an America that is finally as free as it has claimed to be all these years.

  24. Lets get real here people. The Law Enforcement community targets those who abuse the laws and hide behind medicinal perscriptions in order to make huge profits. They have no interest in its’ actually medicinal use. Are you forgetting how many people are killed everyday because of MJ and the money involved. Not everyone growing or selling is just a stoner promoting peace. People kill for the profit it brings. I’ve seen it many times. And to think that officers carry out personal vendettas against drug dealers is obserd. They make a living and protect us from the violence that is a consequence from MJ’s profit. Officers could care less if you want to get high. I agree legalizing MJ would quelsh a lot of the problem, but then it would be taxed, and people would complain about that. Lets give the officers a break. They are in general good people who do a dangerous job that 99% of us are afraid to do. If you want the laws to change, write congress, but don’t expect a patrol officer or narcotics detective to be able to do that for you. They enforce laws. They don’t make them. And for the guy who had a large grow in his house where his children live, don’t you realize the danger of a home invasion and what kind of jeopardy that puts your family in? Come on!!!
    [Editor’s note: Talk about get real?! People killed everyday because of marijuana and the money involved? Isn’t that an argument against prohibition and for legally controlling cannabis?
    Who is fooling who here?
    Please don’t embarrass yourself by claiming ‘police don’t make the laws’, when the history, data and lobbying records clearly indicate that law enforcement–both while in uniform/on-the-clock and when in civilian mode as members of anti-cannabis/pro-law enforcement groups like Narcotics Officer’s Association and the Chief Of Police Associations–do work just as hard to maintain cannabis prohibition as reformers do to end the failed policies.
    All the feigned concern for a family where a cannabis plant is grown (like you care about a family with 500 Oxycontin pills, gallons of booze, cartons of cigarettes and the father makes his own beer…) and protecting the citizens from criminals CREATED by cannabis prohibition laws and its enforcement–not the profit from Prohibition! If there is violence driven by the criminal side as you claim, again, a prime argument for legalization, not prohibition.
    Reformers have been peacefully and civilly working for cannabis law reforms for over five decades in the US, with millions of letters and now emails sent to elected policymakers, but, unfortunately, they illogically keep deferring to law enforcement’s donations (even if only in the form of political support, which most politicians crave to receive) and wild-eyed opposition to needed cannabis law reforms.
    The legalization initiatives in states like CA, WA, OR and NV are going to continue to expose the often naked self-interests of the supporters of the status quo and prohibition laws.]

  25. When you are complaining about all the violence surrounding MJ as you put it, I didn’t see mention of all the other types of drug enforcement. You are naive to think that this is such a problem when the majority of those statistics are for cases in which other drugs are involved. To enlighten you the majority of drug use among young people is NOT MJ it is with prescription pills that they steal off of their parents. Do us all a favor and take a good hard look at the damage that alcohol and alcoholism causes, yet it is legal. Those who drink are just as immoral and reckless as your above stated claims. Let s see if law enforcement can give up their alcohol. Alcoholism runs rampant in the law enforcement community because it is legal. Now let’s stop fooling ourselves, case in point those who drink the only reason you can is because it is the 1 controlled substance that is decriminalized right now. It is however on the schedule of controlled substances. This Bud s for you?

  26. I love when naive people accuse others of being naive. Tell the family in antioch that was victim of a home invasion that there is no violence associated with MJ. A man and his wife were shot to hell protecting their children and mj. He had a card and was growing. Thy were targeted by killers. Tell the kid shot in the face at knoll park for a dime bag that there is no violence involved. Tell the people who are decapitated or shot and killed along the Mexican borders. You are Monday a morning quarterback. Please “enlighten me”. Haha. Prescription pills? The drug cartels main money source is mj. It does not matter if it is legal or not. People will always die for the profit, even the regulated profit. You can quote stats from polls and skewed and unrealistic studies all day, but ill you strap on some boots and fight bad guys at the level I speak of, just shut up.

  27. People have been brutally murdered over a hamburger also since you have asked to be enlightened. Mankind is a violent member of the animal kingdom. So while you are being so defending of your right to be righteous, let us put it out there that murder occurs out of power, hunger, anger, & fear not just MJ. I say to you again let us not be naive about why murder occurs. For your info I did at one time strap boots on and fight the bad guys, have you? Oh and Carlos perhaps people south of the boarder could be more active in cleaning up their country instead of fleeing to ours, complaining of the rights they do not have unless you have become a legal citizen. We pay our taxes while others get their children educated and their families health care and people are murdered while others flee over our boarders, what about that violence, what about the families of our boarder patrol that live without a murdered family memeber. So when you want to speak of murder and the reasons why it occurs lets just open the whole subject up for discussion, not just one part of it. Legalization would give the drug king pins competition they did not have before and a larger protection force to fight with. Crack a history book and you will learn that in the United States drugs were not illegal until 1928. If MJ is legalized across the USA than all those people who flee here for work picking crops will have another crop to pick, thus creating more jobs for those who tell us they deserve the same rights that we the citizens have & then send the money they make out of the country. How about this why doesn’t America extend our boarders to the top of South America and there will be no more fleeing. Our police force can police it all. In conclusion Mexico’s president just got done meeting with ours to ask for help. Yes this is a major problem, violence and murder, but remember this is not a problem that you alone own. I quit because of the violence and the laws but that has not done anything for the severe pain my medical condition causes me.So perhaps you should ” just shut up” Remember the whole world runs on money & power backed by the violence to get the job done, it is how most governments get their citizens to comply.By the way Carlos I grew up in a crime town filled with the organized element. I know all well and good how it all goes, so know who you are calling naive.

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