Tuesday, June 16, 2015

I Was Arrested for Cultivation, But I Have a Medical Marijuana Card

Qualified patients in California may possess, cultivate, transport and use marijuana for medical purposes.  State laws provide some degree of protection against criminal prosecution if the patient can prove that he or she possesses a valid recommendation from a doctor and that the quantity of marijuana possessed is reasonably related to his or her medical needs.

Keep in mind, however, that marijuana remains illegal in California.

The protections described above may establish a defense against criminal charges after you have been arrested, but don't expect police to simply "look the other way" if they catch you cultivating, possessing, transporting or using marijuana.  Remember, a valid medical marijuana recommendation is a defense in court, not an immunity against being arrested on suspicion of some marijuana-related crime.

Police don't have the time, training or interest in determining the validity of your recommendation.  They don't understand the nuances of California's complicated medical marijuana laws (and they aren't expected to).  They know how to make arrests and write reports.

Even if you are within your rights and you only cultivate a small amount of marijuana for personal consumption, you can still be arrested.  Your house can be searched and you can be prosecuted for anything that is discovered during your arrest -- this includes illegal guns, drugs, stolen property / utilities, etc.  You will have to post bail, hire an attorney and appear in court.  Put simply, you will be treated like a criminal.

Once you appear in court, you and your attorney will have an opportunity to present a defense based on your status as a qualified patient.  This may include calling your doctor as a witness to establish the fact that your recommendation is legit and valid.  Of course, a recommendation is only as good as the doctor who is willing to come to court and testify that he or she actually wrote it.  If the doctor is M.I.A., you could be S.O.L.

Presenting a medical marijuana defense gets complicated if you are accused of possession for sale, manufacturing concentrates or possessing other contraband.  You may have a defense based on an unlawful search, mishandled evidence, improper police work or by proving that you operate a "collective", even if the collective itself is unlicensed.

If you or a loved one is accused of any marijuana-related crime, regardless of whether or not you are a "qualified patient", call our firm for a free consultation.  We know how to protect your rights and your criminal record.  (714) 505-2468.  Ask for John.

Thanks for reading.