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Sunday, June 23, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Calif. Supreme Court Strikes Down Pot Limits

(CN) - The California Supreme Court on Thursday lifted the limits on how much medical marijuana a patient can carry, and called the Legislature's imposed restrictions an unconstitutional amendment to the 1996 voter-approved initiative to allow patients to carry and grow pot.

Now, patients with a doctor's recommendation to smoke pot can possess as much as is 'reasonably related to the patient's current medical needs," the court ruled.

The 1996 Compassionate Use Act legalizing medical marijuana didn't say how much pot a patient could possess or grow, just that it be used for medical purposes. The Legislature passed a law in 2003 to offer clarification, saying patients can carry up to 8 ounces of pot and grow up to six mature or 12 baby plants at their residences.

The Supreme Court ruled that those restrictions improperly amended the Compassionate Use Act, finding that the measure didn't contain language allowing the Legislature to amend it.

The case reached the Supreme Court after Patrick K. Kelly, a medical marijuana patient from Lakewood, Calif., was arrested and convicted of pot possession and cultivation for growing his own supply at his home because he couldn't afford the marijuana at state-sponsored dispensaries.

Acting on an anonymous tip, authorities spotted the personal pot farm, and Kelly, who suffers with hepatitis C, back problems, nausea, fatigue, cirrhosis and depression, was arrested and ultimately found guilty of possession and cultivating marijuana.

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