Marijuana and the Law

On April 12, 2017, the Riverside County Law Library hosted “Marijuana and the Law,” an MCLE event for National Library Week. The MCLE was presented by Mike Donaldson, Esq and Deputy District Attorney Greg Rollins. Both were amazing speakers and were able to give those in attendance the opportunity to hear about the different sides of the passage of Marijuana laws.

The presenters covered the history of Marijuana laws in California. First with the passage of Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act. It provided that qualified patients and primary caregivers could use and distribute marijuana and not be in violation of Health and Safety Code 11357, 11358. Deputy DA Rollins stressed the limitations on these laws, mentioning that there is no number amount on how much a person can possess but that it must be reasonably related to the patient’s current medical needs.  Mike Donaldson noted the requirements for primary caregivers noting that a primary caregiver must do more than just supply marijuana. The statute says that a person who qualifies as a primary caregiver has assumed responsibility for the housing, health, or safety of that person.  

The issue of the issuance of Medical Marijuana cards were also addressed.  A Medical Marijuana Card is a state issued identification card that enables a patient with a doctor’s recommendation to obtain, possess, or cultivate cannabis for medicinal use.  Mr. Donaldson made a point to tell those at the program that these are cards are indeed voluntary.  More importantly, those who do have a medical marijuana card cannot be arrested for violating Health and Safety Codes 11357, 11358, or 11360.  Deputy DA Rollins pointed out the limitations of the Medical Marijuana Program Act, which created the medical cards. He mentions that as a DA, the law does not set a limit on the possession or cultivation of what is reasonably related to the patient’s medical needs. He said that if a defendant has a medical card but is holding a large number of plants for a medical condition that is not reasonably related for such a large number of plants, then that person is indeed in violation of the Medical Marijuana Program Act.

They both talked about an interesting part of the Medical Marijuana laws that is not often mentioned, which is collectives/cooperatives. Collectives are generally seen as an association of organized patients who team together to meet the collective needs of the patients. The discussion of collectives led to discussion of the city’s rights when it comes to collectives. Mike mentioned that cities do indeed have the power to ban collectives.

Finally, the Marijuana law that everyone knows is Proposition 64. It legalizes nonmedical marijuana possession and use for adults 21 and older and establishes packaging, labeling, advertising, and marketing standards. Deputy DA Rollins was quick to point out that public use in the vicinity of a school/day care is still illegal.

Thanks to Mr. Rollins and Mr. Donaldson for giving our attendees this great presentation!


By rcll

April 27, 2017

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