Medical marijuana advocates are trumpeting what they call a major legal victory providing some protection for dispensaries that provide the drug to patients.
The California Supreme Court has denied review of a February state Court of Appeal ruling from Los Angeles which had held that dispensaries need not have patients participating in their operation.
The appeals court in People v. Colvin had held that Attorney General Kamala Harris’ argument – that member-patients must engage in unspecified “united action or participation” to qualify for protection under the state’s medical marijuana law – would likely “limit drastically the size of medical marijuana establishments,” and provide “little direction or guidance to, among others, qualified patients, primary caregivers, law enforcement, and trial courts.” It would, in fact, “contravene the intent of [state law] by limiting patients’ access to medical marijuana,” the lower court had held.
The Court of Appeal also held that “collectives and cooperatives may cultivate and transport marijuana in aggregate amounts tied to its membership numbers,” and it affirmed that possession of extracted or concentrated forms of medical marijuana was legal under state law.
“This has not been a problem in the Bay Area, but now we’re sure it’s not going to be,” said Joe Elford, chief counsel with Oakland-based Americans for Safe Access. “The decision not to review People v. Colvin should now put to rest this unfounded notion that patients must ‘till the soil’ or somehow participate in the production of the medicine they purchase at a dispensary.”
Elford said the court letting Colvin stand means the state Justice Department might have to change its arguments in other, similar cases.