Kestenbaum,Eisner & Gorin, LLP - Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorneys
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Los Angeles Marijuana Defense Lawyer

Medical Marijuana

The laws on medical marijuana have been in a constant state of flux ever since voters approved Proposition 215, otherwise known as the Compassionate Use Act, in 1996. That act (Health and Safety Code section 11362.5) provided immunity against prosecution for possession of marijuana (Health and Safety Code section 11357) and cultivation of marijuana (Health and Safety Code section 11358) for patients with a doctor’s recommendation to use marijuana and the patients’ primary caregivers.

Seven years later, in 2013, the California Legislature passed the Medical Marijuana Program Act, which enacted several statutes that provided additional guidance about the medical marijuana laws. These statutes allowed for the development of non-profit cooperatives and collectives among patients to grow medical marijuana. The statutes also expanded the immunity to protect against prosecution for other marijuana offenses, such as transportation and possession to sell.

It is important to remember that medical marijuana is still illegal under federal law, so even if you are complying with California law, you can still be prosecuted in Federal court. This is particularly important to keep in mind if you go onto federal land (such as national parks). Also, many cities and counties have passed their own legislation affecting medical marijuana, particularly as to the development of dispensaries.

Because medical marijuana law involves a complex web of Federal, State, and local laws, and because the law regarding medical marijuana is still evolving, it is extremely important that you speak to an attorney as soon as possible if you are being investigated into or charged with a marijuana offense and believe you have a good defense under the medical marijuana laws. It is also important that you speak with an attorney if you are interested in starting a medical marijuana dispensary, cooperative, or collective.

Marijuana Cultivation

Unlawful marijuana cultivation (Health and Safety Code section 11358) is a felony offense. In order to convict you of unlawful medical marijuana cultivation, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that (1) you planted / cultivated a marijuana plant, (2) you knew it was a marijuana plant and (3) that it was not immunized by law. What this third part means is that if you argue that you were cultivating medical marijuana in a manner provided by law, the prosecution essentially has to disprove this beyond a reasonable doubt.

Given the nuances of the medical marijuana laws, and the fact that the medical marijuana laws are still evolving, it is highly recommended that you speak to an attorney as soon as you are aware of an investigation into or charges against you.

Contact an Experienced Drug Defense Lawyer

Our aggressive defense to marijuana charges has led to numerous cases of marijuana sales and possession dismissed, including one where an employee of a marijuana dispensary was charged with possessing more than 25 pounds of pot. In another recent case handled by the firm, a client had substantial monies and several ounces of marijuana returned to him by LAPD after the D.A. dismissed the case in the middle of a preliminary hearing. Our criminal defense team had demonstrated in court that the case had substantial problems of proof. The recommending medical doctor was subpoenaed to testify and the LAPD “expert on drug sales” was not familiar with the provisions of Medical Marijuana laws. As a result, the case was dismissed. In another case, we were successful in preventing a criminal filing, and seizure of property, against a Medical Marijuana Clinic after a search warrant led to arrests and the seizure of a large quantity of cannabis.