If you are interested in becoming involved in the California medical marijuana community or you have been targeted by law enforcement despite your attempts to comply with California’s medical marijuana laws, you will need an experienced medical marijuana attorney by your side. Nathan is highly skilled in all facets of medical marijuana law, including the criminal medical marijuana defense, forming and advising medical marijuana collectives and businesses, litigating with city governments concerning bans and restrictive ordinances.
Nathan has represented numerous individuals in criminal medical marijuana cases in San Diego County, and has obtained several outright dismissals. Nathan also has extensive experience litigating against the City of San Diego concerning its de facto ban on medical marijuana collectives and has represented dozens of medical marijuana collectives against the City. In October 2011, Nathan obtained a landmark trial court ruling in Rancho Mirage that the City’s ban was unconstitutional. Nathan also has engaged in both defense and plaintiff’s work against numerous other cities and counties throughout California.
Medical marijuana law is a highly dynamic, complicated area of law in California. In 1996, the people of California enacted ballot Proposition 215 (Prop. 215), known as the Compassionate Use Act. This marked the first time in the history of the United States that a state explicitly recognized the medicinal value of marijuana. Pursuant to Prop. 215, the Health and Safety Code was amended to add section 11362.5, which provides, “Section 11357, relating to the possession of marijuana, and Section 11358, relating to the cultivation of marijuana, shall not apply to a patient, or to a patient’s primary caregiver, who possesses or cultivates marijuana for the personal medical purposes of the patient upon the written or oral recommendation or approval of a physician.” This provision guarantees qualified patients and their primary caregivers the right to possess and cultivate marijuana for medical purposes. Those rights are protected in criminal court via an affirmative defense under the landmark California Supreme Court cases of People v. Mower and People v. Kelly.
In 2003, the Legislature enacted the Medical Marijuana Program (MMP), which added a plethora of new provisions to the Health and Safety Code intended to make good on Prop. 215’s promise of safe access to medical marijuana. In order to effectuate that promise, the MMP established a voluntary medical marijuana identification card program to allow law enforcement to easily identify those with a right to possess and cultivate medical marijuana. Additionally, the MMP created new affirmative defenses covering activities such as transportation and medical marijuana collectives, available to those with or without the new identification card. These provisions are codified in sections 11362.7 to 11362.83 of the Health and Safety Code. Most importantly, the MMP prevents police from arresting individual users with an identification card under certain circumstances and allows patients and caregivers to form medical marijuana collectives and cooperatives. Most recently, in the cases of People v. Colvin and People v. Jackson, a landmark case out of San Diego, the courts have firmly established the legality of medical marijuana collectives that operate storefront dispensaries.
California’s medical marijuana laws are always changing and important new cases are decided all the time. To keep up with all of these important developments, you need a well-connected, dedicated, experienced medical marijuana attorney like Nathan on your side. Contact The Law Offices of Nathan Shaman today to set up a consultation concerning your medical marijuana needs.