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In 1996, California voters passed Proposition 215, The Compassionate Use Act. This law created a new exemption from criminal penalties for medical use of marijuana. Patients with a Dr's recommendation to use marijuana in medical treatment have a new legal defense available to them if found possessing, growing or using marijuana.  This protection only extends to California laws because Federal law does not recognize medical marijuana. Therefore, the Federal government has the power to instigate civil forfeitures or prosecute cases even if they are legal under state law.

If arrested on marijuana charges, patients (and caregivers) can claim entitlement to an exemption from California law. The patient or caregiver need only raise a reasonable doubt in the jury's mind that their marijuana was possessed with the recommendation of a doctor to be found not guilty. Because compliance is so important, take time to understand the new law. Understand too that the laws regarding "legal" medical marijuana use are still evolving. For up to date information please visit American's for Safe Access, Marijuanannews.com, CA Norml, or Marijuana Expert Chris Conrad's website.  To read the laws yourself: please click on the link to see Health and Safety Code section 11362.5 the code section that resulted from Proposition 215, The Compassionate Use Act, and click on the link for Health and Safety Code section 11362.7, which in January 2004, clarified many of the Compassionate Use Act laws.

All California counties are now required to issue identification cards to residents with medical marijuana recommendations. If a patient has a county card and is within state guidelines, then they can't be arrested for possession or cultivation unless the police officer has probable cause to believe the patient's card is a forgery or the recommendation was obtained through fraud.  For more information regarding the States Medical Marijuana Program and ID card system click on California Department of Health, Medical Marijuana Program. 

Patients do not have to have a county card to be protected. But with the card and staying within the state guidelines, patients enjoy the added protection of this "no citation or arrest unless probable cause" rule. 

Among the law's important points: The minimum amount of medical marijuana a city or county must permit a patient to have in their possession is 8 ounces of "bud" (leaf isn't counted) along with six mature plants or 12 immature plants; Cities and Counties are free to implement guidelines permitting more medical marijuana to be possessed or grown by patients; A doctor may permit the patient to have more than any city, county or state guideline; A doctor's recommendation may be in writing or spoken; The law enables parolees, defendants and probationers to retain full access to medical marijuana.  See Med MJ Law.  


If you are arrested and your medicine confiscated: you may be able to get it returned. I have successfully recovered pounds of medical marijuana for clients.     


If you use marijuana for a medical condition that could lead an MD to give you a recommendation for using medical marijuana - get the recommendation! You may not be protected by Proposition 215 if you get the recommendation after an arrest. There are more and more doctors who are willing to write recommendations given the increased protection for doctors resulting from a recent Supreme Court Case.  See list of medical providers.


To protect your rights you should always do the following:

  • Keep your recommendation up to date;
  • Keep a copy of your recommendation with you at all times;
  • Keep copy of your recommendation with any plants you are growing;
  • If you are a caregiver, keep copies of all patient's recommendations for whom you are growing with any plants you are growing for them;
  • Do not keep anything around that could be considered evidence of sales: "Pay/Owe sheets" (paperwork showing people owe you money); scales; packaging materials; pagers; photos of you with other illegal drugs or guns.
  • Stay within the State or County guidelines;
  • Keep a copy of the medical evidence you provided your M.D. when you secured your recommendation.
  • If police show up- show your recommendation then shut up.  Never ever give a statement. 

Free Same Day Consultation

Our firm has handled many medical marijuana cases; had many cases dismissed and won acquittals for our clients. Call The Tiemann Law Firm at (530) 621-2400 or (916) 941-7300.

Our Northern California offices are conveniently located in Sacramento and El Dorado Counties. We accept all major credit cards. Please call my office to schedule a free initial consultation.  You will be trusting your case to a proven Medical Marijuana defense firm!


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6/30/2009 - Registration for Medical Marijuana

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 DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter. The posts and opinions expressed on this website are solely the personal opinions of The Law Offices of Peter B. Tiemann. They do not represent or reflect (nor are they intended to represent or reflect) the positions, opinions, viewpoints, policies and/or statements of any entity in which the Law Offices has any ownership interest, with which they have any contractual or other legal relationship, or which is, was or might be the Law Offices client or customer. This website is not intended to be an advertisement or solicitation for legal services. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements. Disregard this solicitation if you have already engaged a lawyer in connection with the legal matter referred to in this solicitation. You may wish to consult your lawyer or another lawyer instead of the Law Offices. The exact nature of your legal situation will depend on many facts not known to the Law Offices at this time. You should understand that the advice and information in this solicitation is general and that your own situation may vary.

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