The California Supreme Court Issues Ambiguous Limits on Marijuana Possession
The California Supreme Court issued a unanimous, but ambiguous decision on how much weed a medical marijuana user in the state could grow or possess. The decision eliminates parts of a 2003 law that regulates the use and possession of marijuana; made possible by the 1996 ballot initiative that cleared the way for medical marijuana in the state. Those limits were eight ounces of dried marijuana, six mature plants or twelve immature plants. The state upheld an appellate court’s decision in a case of a man who consulted with a doctor and received a written medical marijuana recommendation for chronic pain relief. Police arrested the man, after an informants tip, lead police to marijuana plants growing in and around the man’s Lakewood, Calif. home. Police also found twelve ounces of marijuana, but no typical evidence indicating he was in the business of selling.
A jury ultimately found the man guilty of possessing more than an ounce of marijuana and cultivating it. However an appeals court threw out the marijuana limits provision that initially incarcerated him.
The original initiative set no limits on marijuana amounts, so the California Supremes said it’s OK for people with doctors’ permission to grow or possess “reasonable amounts” of weed. However, narcotics officers face the challenge of defining in court, what amount is “unreasonable” or “reasonable” for a medical user.