The declared purposes of the CUA were
(1) "[t]o ensure that seriously ill Californians have the right to obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes where that medical use is deemed appropriate and has been recommended by a physician who has determined that the person's health would benefit from the use of marijuana in the treatment of . . . any . . . illness for which marijuana provides relief" (§ 11362.5, subd. (b)(1)(A));
(2) "[t]o ensure that patients and their primary caregivers who obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes upon the recommendation of a physician are not subject to criminal prosecution or sanction" (§ 11362.5, subd. (b)(1)(B)); and
(3) "[t]o encourage the federal and state governments to implement a plan to provide for the safe and affordable distribution of marijuana to all patients in medical need of marijuana" (§ 11362.5, subd. (b)(1)(C)). 7 The CUA is narrow in scope-it provides a limited defense from prosecution for cultivation and possession of marijuana. However, the CUA does not create a statutory or constitutional right to obtain marijuana or allow the sale or nonprofit distribution of marijuana by medical marijuana dispensaries. People v. Urziceanu (2005) 132 Cal.App.4th 747, 773-774 (Urziceanu).)
In 2003 the Legislature added the MMPA for the purposes of "'[promoting] uniform and consistent application of the [CUA] among the counties within the state' and '[enhancing] the access of patients and caregivers to medical marijuana through collective, cooperative cultivation projects.' [Citation.]" (County of Los Angeles v. Hill (2011) 192 Cal.App.4th 861, 864 (Hill).) The MMPA "includes guidelines for the implementation of the [CUA]. Among other things, it provides that qualified patients and their primary caregivers have limited immunity from prosecution for certain violations.
The MMPA "provides a new affirmative defense to criminal liability for qualified patients, caregivers, and holders of valid identification cards who collectively or cooperatively cultivate marijuana.
For instance, section 11362.775 of the MMPA provides: "Qualified patients, persons with valid identification cards, and the designated primary caregivers of qualified patients and persons with identification cards, 8 who associate within the State of California in order collectively or cooperatively to cultivate marijuana for medical purposes, shall not solely on the basis of that fact be subject to state criminal sanctions under Section 11357, 11358, 11359, 11360, 11366, 11366.5, or 11570 ." In addition, section 11362.765 provides limited immunity for transporting, processing, administering, and cultivating medical marijuana.
If you have been pulled over for an infraction, but once an odor of marijuana is detected, your vehicle is subjected to search and search. If they find any evidence of what they believe to be sales, you will be charged with H&S 11359 (sales) and H&S 11360 (transportation).
If you were operating within the bounds of the state law, you are entitled to assert an affirmative defense and we will vigorously defend your case. Please contact our office and we'll be more than happy to consult with you.
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