Posted by Joe Elford
I suspect this case is just a flash in the pan, but we shall see. People v. Kelly involves a patient who had 12 ounces of marijuana and the prosecutor successfully argued to the jury that his possession of the marijuana was illegal because he had exceeded the “caps” of SB 420. The Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District (L.A.) reversed because it found that SB 420′s limit of the amount of marijuana a patient may possess constitutes an unconstitutional amendment of Proposition 215. Right result, wrong reasoning.
While the SB 420 quantities would be an unconstitutional amendment of Proposition 215 if it limited the amount of marijuana a patient could possess, the SB 420 quantities are not “caps,” but are thresholds. This is what the California Supreme Court said in People v. Wright at page 20, so I’m surprised the Kelly court did not recognize this. As thresholds, rather than caps, the SB 420 quantities likely do not amount to an unconstitutional amendment of a voter-approved initiative.
Although I’d be surprised to see this case survive an appeal to the California Supreme Court, it is a positive result in that it demonstrates that another appellate court is willing to rule in favor of medical marijuana patients.