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Cali Officers have power to decide if grow is medical or commercial.

medical cannabis

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#1 DoobieDuck

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 04:03 PM

Here is a current important ruling for medical cannabis patients growing their own medicine in California. A California appellate court has decided that an officer who drives by your grow can make a determination if it contains more than what he feels your medical needs are. That despite that he has never diagnosed you or evaluated your medical condition. There is a lot wrong with this decision I think. Be Safe DD

“This affirmed a Humboldt County Superior Court judge's ruling and essentially says that officers can use their discretion in determining if there is probable cause to believe a grow falls outside the bounds of state medical marijuana laws. “

Court ruling gives officers power to decide if grow is medical or commercial.
By THADEUS GREENSON-Eureka Times-Standard
Posted: 08/06/2013 12:39:17 AM PDT
Updated: 08/06/2013 08:53:54 AM PDT

If a police officer in the field thinks a marijuana grow falls beyond what medical laws provide, they can tear up your garden and destroy your plants.
And, even if the officers were wrong, growers can't expect to be compensated for the uprooted crop.

A California appellate court decision published recently affirmed a Humboldt County Superior Court judge's ruling and essentially says that officers can use their discretion in determining if there is probable cause to believe a grow falls outside the bounds of state medical marijuana laws.

If they do suspect a grow or a possessed amount of processed marijuana is illegal, the officers can destroy it, the court found.

While some say the case gives officers more discretion in the field and clarifies what they can take into consideration when determining if they suspect a growing operation to be illegal, others say the case of Roscoe Littlefield was so egregious the court's ruling won't have much of an impact on possession and cultivation cases that really do fall in the gray area of state marijuana law.

The case takes root in 2008 when, in a remote area of Humboldt County, Roscoe Littlefield, three of his family members and a man by the name of Jeffrey Libertini were growing about 200 marijuana plants at two garden sites on their property.
The gardens had four medical marijuana recommendations posted, three of which were in the names of members of the Littlefield family and allowed the usage of up to two ounces of marijuana a day to relieve "a specified degenerative joint disease," lower back pain and anxiety.
When the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office busted the grow in September of that year, they reported finding the plants "heavily laden with buds." Deputies estimated that the plants — each of which had a diameter of more than six feet, with a combined canopy area of almost 6,000 square feet — would yield a harvest of about 1,500 pounds.

Deputies consulted with Lt. Wayne Hanson, who oversaw the operation that day, and he gave the go-ahead to cut the garden down.

According to the ruling, Hanson based his decision on not only the size of the growing operation — which was far beyond what county guidelines allowed — but also the fact it appeared to surpass even the massive amount allowed under the posted recommendations and that officers found a loaded rifle with a 50-round "banana clip" at the property.

Under Hanson's direction, deputies photographed the marijuana, took a 10-pound sample and five random subsamples. The rest of the marijuana was destroyed.

When no arrests or criminal charges followed the raid, the Littlefields sued the county for damages, seeking between $683,724 and $1.3 million for pain and suffering and the replacement value of their destroyed marijuana.

Humboldt County Superior Court Judge Christopher Wilson heard the case and found the central question to be "whether the officers engaged in the marijuana eradication operation possessed, at the time the marijuana here was seized, facts as would lead a man of ordinary caution or prudence to believe, and conscientiously entertain a strong suspicion of the guilt of the accused."

Wilson also rejected the Littlefields' contention that simply showing a medical marijuana recommendation immunizes a grower from having their plants seized, noting that state medical marijuana laws essentially just provide an affirmative defense — meaning it gives qualified patients a defense, but doesn't protect them from seizures or even prosecutions if they are suspected of breaking the law.

Wilson threw out the Littlefields' case, and they filed an appeal.

The appellant court's ruling sides with Wilson, and seems to go a step further in outlining exactly what factors officers can use to determine if there's probable cause to believe a marijuana cultivation operation is beyond the scope of medical laws.

Specifically, the court found that officers can consider the presence of firearms at the grow, the size of the grow and the nature of patient recommendations posted at the site when deciding whether they think a grow may be illegal.

In the case of the Littlefields, the court found the size of the grow compared to county guidelines, the presence of the rifle, the fact all the patient recommendations at the site were given by the same doctor for similar ailments and the large quantity prescribed were all factors that would lead a reasonable officer to conclude the grow was illegal.

Reached Wednesday, Hanson said he's glad the court affirmed the decision he made in the field that day but said he isn't surprised, noting that he felt there was little gray area in the Littlefield case.

Even if you assume the doctor's recommendations were valid, Hanson said that would have allowed for a maximum 45.6 pounds of marijuana to supply each of the patients for a year, for a combined total weight of about 273 pounds. The approximate weight of the marijuana destroyed was 1,500 pounds — more than five times what was prescribed.

But the recommendations themselves were highly suspect, Hanson said, adding that two ounces of marijuana a day is the equivalent of more than 100 average-sized marijuana cigarettes a day.

"People like the Littlefields are using Proposition 215 as a shield to cultivate marijuana for sale and to make large sums of cash," Hanson said, adding that the process for destroying seized drugs is clearly outlined in section 11479 of the California Health and Safety Code. "We're peace officers. Whatever the law is, we follow it."

The California State Sheriff's Association believed the court's ruling was important enough that it lobbied the court in a July 17 letter to publish its ruling to provide "invaluable guidance to law enforcement officials concerning the proper standards that they should apply" when deciding whether a marijuana garden is compliant with state and local medical guidelines.

Eureka attorney William Mitchell, who represented the county in the case, said he thinks the Littlefield ruling is important because it addresses what criteria officers can use to determine whether they think a grow is illegal, and because it clearly states that law enforcement agencies cannot be expected to store and preserve growing marijuana they confiscate, which the appellate court deemed impractical.

Dale Gieringer, director of the California branch of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said he thinks there's little noteworthy about the Littlefield case.

"I really thought it was a pretty clear case — It didn't take a genius to figure out these people were sort of beyond reasonable medical need," he said, adding that the two-ounces-per-day recommendation is five times higher than the biggest number he's even seen documented for a medical marijuana patient.

"I'm not terribly alarmed about (the ruling). I don't view it as setting a particularly dangerous precedent because it was such a clear example (of excess)."

story here: http://www.dailybree....decide-if-grow
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#2 PoeticLife

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 09:34 PM

gee another "lets see how this pans out" ruling.... they should be ashamed. I'm sure there are many that go over the "restrictions" for whatever reason, but to give local law enforcement more power, and on a possible "hunch" nope not good at all, just more abuse of a system trying to figure itself out.

GAAAAsmiley.gif
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#3 plant boy

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 07:09 AM

not sure if anyone could use 2 oz's a day

#4 DoobieDuck

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 08:07 AM

Poet thanks, yes..leaves a lot to be "determined" by officers. plant boy nice to see you, of course..waay overboard even if you are making concentrates. Something I think I need to clarify is I'm not against this. This decision actually has some real comforting things in it. I have three Peeps, including myself growing here, we have 18 plants-the states guideline. This reads to me as; patients like us should breath a sigh of relief that they will now only be searching out, and may be only prosecuting, people who are way off the grid on quantity. But once again, the law is changing, how it is interpreted and reacted too by Sheriffs and law enforcement is now in question, and most of the patients out there may never hear about it. Be safe..DD
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#5 BikerPepe

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Posted 08 August 2013 - 02:55 AM

I tend to agree here. abusing the laws that were fought for so hard, for so long, to protect us... harms each and every one of us. I'm not happy to see anyone go down for growing the plant... but the law is the law and if we are to try and follow it or expect to be protected by it, we must work within it. what I do find very disturbing is this trend to allow for officers to make these subjective calls. We all NEED guidelines. Not generalities or wishy-washy boundaries open to interpretation and abuse on either side... we need solid lines to follow. Both so we can clearly follow the laws and to defend ourselves, both in the investigating instances and in the courts, when need be. Officers aren't trained well enough to understand our needs and we are in no position to guess what they may consider "ok" or "too far". I won't even get into the "corrupt cops" angle here, nuff said.
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#6 DoobieDuck

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 07:27 AM

BikerPepe I agree ^ ^...I had a comment elsewhere where someone said they'd rather be growing illegit rather than- think they were legit here in Cali and try to keep up with all the law changes we have faced in the last couple years. It's tough to hear about the newest appeal etc. and many of my friends don't! Be safe...DD
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#7 BikerPepe

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 08:59 PM

right back atcha DD! smoke.gif



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