Medical Marijuana Patients Still Being Harassed By California Police

December 27, 2011
By Cannabis Law Group on December 27, 2011 12:37 PM |

Our California medical marijuana attorneys have long supported patients who legally are able to purchase, carry and smoke marijuana for personal use.

And while California's voters 15 years ago approved marijuana for legal use, there have been no shortage of controversies and problems. As a recent article out of Canada shows, legal marijuana users there, too, have been running into issues with law enforcement, who can't keep straight who is legally using marijuana and who is breaking the law.
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Unfortunately, people who legally use medical marijuana in California often get mixed up in problems because of miscommunication or overzealous police work. While police are still geared toward fighting the "War on Drugs," they must sit back and recognize that California's laws allow for medical marijuana use and they can't assume every person who has marijuana on them is an unlawful user.

Such is the case of a Canadian woman recently interviewed by an Ontario newspaper. The woman has a medicinal garden on her property where she grows marijuana for medicinal purposes. She is legally allowed to use marijuana.

The woman spent $30,000 for 17 different prescriptions for painkillers and tranquilizers to ease the pain she was experiencing and that cost didn't include the bills for hospital stays. That was 10 years ago. Five years ago, she began smoking marijuana and the symptoms went away, easing her pain. She no longer takes any prescription drugs.

She is happy that she no longer has to rely on pricey prescription drugs to mask the symptoms that make her life difficult, but she is still frustrated by the fact that she faces harassment from law enforcement.

Licensed drug users in Canada have an identification card and a packet of paperwork that prove they are able to legally consume marijuana. But healthcare bureaucracy has gotten in the way of helping patients. Health Canada, the government-run health system, requires the stack of paperwork and not simply the card as proof. But police officers typically only want to see the card.

When she is stopped, officers want to know how much marijuana she's carrying and where she is growing it. She says she is allowed to grow 126 plants, put 6,570 grams in storage and carry about 900 grams of marijuana on her, but she says she doesn't for fear she could get robbed. But, while that's a large amount of the drug, it's meant to act the same as any other prescription drug.

The amount she can have is determined by her physician and she is legally allowed to smoke it anywhere, except where local ordinances prohibit smoking in public. Earlier this year, she was detained after she went outside a bar to smoke a joint. The bar's bouncer refused to let her back in and he called police. She was detained for hours after proving she could legally smoke marijuana.

Police argue that they must answer calls from neighbors who worry a person is illegally smoking marijuana and must treat it as a drug case. They must verify that the person in question is, in fact, a legal user.

This is a conflict that has no easy answer. If a person pops a pill in public, most people wouldn't say anything, but marijuana stands out and so people sometimes react by calling police. Even people who are pulled over and can legally possess marijuana must go out of their way to keep officers who are quick to arrest at bay. Our lawyers are prepared to fight for the rights of marijuana users throughout California.

The CANNABIS LAW GROUP offers experienced and aggressive representation to the medical marijuana industry in Los Angeles, throughout Orange County and elsewhere throughout Southern California. Call 714-937-2050 for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights.

More Blog Entries:

Medical Marijuana in Los Angeles Not Cool Enough for Teen Recreational Use: December 3, 2011

Transplant Patient Kicked off Waiting List for Using Medical Marijuana in California: November 25, 2011

Additional Resources:

Licensed to legally toke, medical marijuana patients still face run-ins with the law, by Sarah Deeth, The Peterborough Examiner