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Medical Marijuana and Your Legal Rights

Long Beach Medical Marijuana Attorney

The Compassionate Use Act & Senate Bill 420

One popular topic for debate in California right now is the legalization of marijuana, specifically medical marijuana. On November 5, 1996, approximately half of all voters voted yes on Proposition 215, otherwise known as the Compassionate Use Act of 1996. The act took effect the very next day and stripped away criminal penalties for the possession, use, and cultivation of marijuana by patients who received physician recommendation that he or she would benefit from the use of medical marijuana. This allowed for patients who were diagnosed with diseases that would benefit from use of the drug to be legally protected.

Common conditions covered under the act include:

  • HIV or AIDS
  • Epilepsy
  • Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • Chronic pain

In October 2003, the Compassionate Use Act was amended by Senate Bill 420, which imposed stricter guidelines on how much marijuana patients could possess, grow, and use. For example, under SB 420, patients are not allowed to possess more than eight ounces of dried marijuana, six mature plants, or twelve immature marijuana plants.

Again, there are gray areas where some patients may have more if his or her physician recommends it. The bill also gives significant leeway to counties and municipalities to impose their own ordinances should they determine it is acceptable for patients to possess more.

Medical Marijuana Program (MMP)

The California Department of Public Health's Medical Marijuana Program (MMP) was established to regulate and standardize medical marijuana identification cards (MMIC) so that there could be a registry of qualified patients and their caregivers. By having an MMIC, patients help law enforcement officers to clearly identify them as being legally able to possess certain amounts of marijuana under Prop 215 and SB 420.

If you are a qualified patient and would like to apply for your MMIC, fill out an Application / Renewal Form and provide a copy of your physician's recommendation, proof of identity, and proof of residence. You would then apply in person to your county's program. While there, you will need to pay a fee and have your photo taken.

Western State Law Review's Medical Marijuana Symposium

In April 2013, Attorney Leonard Matsuk took place in the Criminal Law Panel at the Western State Law Review's Medical Marijuana Symposium where lawyers, law students, various experts, and members of the community gathered to discuss the many important issues surrounding medical marijuana. On the Criminal Law Panel, he spoke about the issues that arise from marijuana remaining illegal under federal law, but legal in certain states, such as California.

It can also cause problems when one considers the harsh penalties for federal drug crimes. The two other attorneys who spoke with him on the panel spoke about the use of the medical marijuana affirmative defense in courtroom, and the overall ambiguity of the defense. They also spoke about the unconstitutionality of the federal enforcement of marijuana laws.

To read more about the symposium, please read The Notice's article.

Drug Crime Attorney Serving Long Beach, California

If you have recently been arrested for the use, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana, do not hesitate to get the involvement of an experienced Long Beach criminal lawyer from The Law Office of Leonard Matsuk. With more than four decades of experience, we have the experience necessary to help protect your legal rights; in fact, Attorney Leonard Matsuk has been AV® Rated by Martindale-Hubbell® and was selected for inclusion in the Southern California Super Lawyers® list of 2004 and 2005.

To learn more about how our firm can help you, simply give us a call at (562) 375-4834!

Our Victories

Take a look at our most recent wins!
  • Informal Probation Client Accused of Attempting to Carry a Gun on an Aircraft
  • No Jail Time or Probation Client Arrested for Fraud in Federal Sting Operation
  • Charges Reduced Client Charged in Federal Court with Multiple Counts of Drug Sales
  • No Time in Custody & No Probation Client Charged with Conspiring to Sell Marijuana
  • Not Guilty Client Accused of Assaulting a Victim Inside Their Home
  • Charges Dismissed Client Charged with Child Endangerment
  • Charges Dismissed Client Charged with Battery on a Police Officer
  • Not Guilty Client Charged with Robbery After Police Chase
  • Case Dismissed Client Charged with Assault with a Deadly Weapon
  • Case Dismissed Man Accused of Attempting to Push His Wife Out of the Car

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