In California, the Medical Marijuana Program ("MMP") was created in order to provide a medical marijuana identification card and registry for qualified patients. The Compassionate Use Act of 1996 and Senate Bill 420 (2003) work in conjunction with one another to allow patients in need of medicinal marijuana legitimate access to the drug. The Compassionate use Act removed state-level criminal penalties on the use, possession and cultivation of marijuana by patients who possess a medical marijuana card. Senate Bill 420 implemented statewide guidelines for patients which limited how much medicinal marijuana may be grown or possessed. Patients and their caregivers may possess no more than 8 oz of dried marijuana and/or 6 mature (or 12 immature) marijuana plants. If larger quantities are recommended by a physician, then SB 420 allows for the recommended increases.Only patients and/or their legal representatives may apply for a medicinal marijuana card. A person applying for California's Medical Marijuana Program must meet certain guidelines and requirements:
The medical marijuana card is valid for one year. After that time, the patient must return to his or her physician and begin the process all over from scratch. The only way to renew a medicinal marijuana card is to repeat the entire application process.
Without a medical marijuana card, possession of over 1 oz. of marijuana is a crime under Health & Safety Code §11350 and/or §11377. Possession of less than 1 oz. of marijuana has been decriminalized since 2010, and thus is no longer a misdemeanor. Instead, possession of such a small amount of marijuana is now an infraction only, with no jail time attached. These infractions are punished with a maximum $100 fine, and are treated more like a traffic ticket. Possession of larger amounts of marijuana can be treated as misdemeanors or felonies depending upon the amount of marijuana in possession at the time of the arrest.
If you have any questions about California's Medical Marijuana Program or about criminal marijuana charges, you should speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer today. The attorneys and counselors at Deering & Valle, LLP are available to answer your questions during a free evaluation. Contact us to schedule your consultation today.