Law Offices of
David Elliott Wise

Cannabis / Marijauna in California

As a San Francisco Marijuana Lawyer, I have put together a very general summary of a few important things to consider when looking at an actual or potential marijuana/cannabis criminal case.  I know I’m a San Francisco Criminal Defense Lawyer, so you expect to hear it – but it is still true - if you don’t consult with a criminal defense attorney about your case, you’re probably going to miss an important fact, local or state law or procedural consideration that could hurt you.


As a lawyer specializing in Cannabis offenses and as a Medical Marijuana Attorney, I can really help.   Being a California Marijuana Attorney for many years, I know the law better than many court personnel.  And as a leader among Bay Area Criminal Lawyers, I know the procedures which can really help a client.   Please let myself or the staff here at Wise Defense know if you have any questions.   We are here to help.

Here is beginning of the statute:

11362.5. (a) This section shall be known and may be cited as the Compassionate Use Act of 1996.
(b) (1) The people of the State of California hereby find and declare that the purposes of the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 are as follows:
(A) To ensure that seriously ill Californians have the right to obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes where that medical use is deemed appropriate and has been recommended by a physician who has determined that the persons health would benefit from the use of marijuana in the treatment of cancer, anorexia, AIDS, chronic pain, spasticity, glaucoma, arthritis, migraine or any other illness for which marijuana provides relief.
(B) To ensure that patients and their primary caregivers who obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes upon the recommendation of a physician are not subject to criminal prosecution or sanction.
(C) To encourage the federal and state governments to implement a plan for the safe and affordable distribution of marijuana to all patients in medical need of marijuana.

Along with this there continues, in varying degrees, a law enforcement backlash and attempt to curtail the voters’ will. The good news includes that since the inauguration of Barak Obama as president, the Federal Government withheld prosecutions of possession and use which fall under Prop 115.

Numerous questions arise around the issue of whether the Medical Marijuana Initiative is a defense to a charged crime, or the seizure of marijuana and other property and assets by the government:

  1. Is the amount reasonably related to need?
  2. Has a proper health care professional “prescribed” marijuana?
  3. Is a collective of individuals involved, who assist each other in growing and providing medical marijuana?
  4. What do different local county and municipal governments have as standards for the amount of medical marijuana that can possessed, or regarding the number of plants that can be cultivated and harvested?
  5. Are you in an area that has been targeted by law enforcement, such as San Francisco’s Sunset District, for allegedly illegal growing operations, where there have been cases of questionable uses (i.e. alleged stealing) of others electricity, flooding by ill tended hydroponic grow systems.
  6. Are you affiliated with a medical marijuana dispensary that has taken part in local licensing, if applicable?
  7. Are you a caregiver?
  8. In a case of simple possession, do you have a Doctor’s permission to use marijuana, or a Medical Marijuana Card?
  9. Always consider if you have special collateral considerations, such as are you a non-citizen, do you have a professional license, or will you be seeking one in the future, which could be jeopardized by a “drug” prosecution, or will a current or future employer be able to obtain public court records about a criminal case which causes you difficulty.

Criminal Prosecution?

The answers to these and other questions can mean the difference between release and being brought before a criminal court with a pending case.

Seeking Return of Property

Or, as sometimes happens, law enforcement forgo criminal prosecution, but seize medical marijuana, plants, hydroponic grow lights, water pumps and other equipment, along with cash, computers and phones, and leave it to you to try to get your property back. Getting your property back will depend in part on whether you can show that you are property within the medical marijuana law. Before making any decision about your case, you need to discuss the facts and the local law with an attorney experienced in medical marijuana law. San Francisco Criminal Defense Attorney David Elliott Wise is available to help.

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