Is Marijuana for Medical Purposes Legal?

Though the federal Drug Enforcement Agency does not recognize medical marijuana as a legal substance, California passed the Compassionate Use Act of 1996. The Act gave Californians the right to use marijuana for medical purposes.

To comply with the Act, the prescribing doctor must actually believe the patient will benefit from using marijuana, and that the marijuana will help alleviate the patient’s symptoms. The conditions for which doctors may legally prescribe include, but are not limited to AIDS and HIV, anxiety, arthritis, anorexia, cancer, chronic pain, epilepsy, glaucoma, and migraines, among a number of other conditions as well.

Is Possessing Medical Marijuana Legal?

It is indeed legal to possess marijuana in certain situations. According to California state law, for it to be legal to possess marijuana you must fall into one of three categories:

  • You have a medical marijuana prescription from a lawfully prescribing doctor
  • You have a medical marijuana license granted by California to manufacture and/or dispense marijuana
  • You are the caregiver of someone who is prescribed medical marijuana

Local law enforcement can only charge someone with a drug crime if that someone was found to use or possess marijuana illegally, that is without a prescription, without a license, or without caring for someone who uses medical marijuana legally.

Nevertheless, because California law conflicts with federal laws, people are still being arrested in Ventura and the rest of California for using and possessing marijuana; even though they used and/or obtained the substance through legal channels, and can prove it.

Patients with a prescription for medical marijuana can go to one of the more than 200 medical marijuana dispensaries located in Ventura and the rest of Southern California, walk in and purchase the amount they were prescribed.

“Mr. Helfend absolutely saved my bacon. After finding myself charged with fraud, I was terrified. I have never been introduced to the legal system from this side before, and it was unsettling. However, Robert was able to calm me down and help me figure out my situation. He even got the case dropped before trial! I don’t want to be in another situation where I need a criminal defense lawyer, but if I ever am, I know who I will call!”Pete, CA

Despite the fact that the Act says this is legal, scores of caregivers and patients have been arrested for cultivating, distribution, possession and trafficking marijuana, despite the fact that the marijuana was intended for medical use and in accordance with the Act.

If you are one of these people who have been charged with a drug offense even though you obtained or used the marijuana legally, you have a variety of credible defenses available to you.

As a California attorney, I have extensive knowledge of the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 and its legal boundaries, and using this knowledge and my 20 plus years of successful criminal defense experience, I will determine which defense will best protect your legal rights as a medical marijuana user by reviewing the drug charges against you.

In accordance with the Act and in order to achieve a mutual goal of helping clients avoiding the cost of a medical marijuana arrest while avoiding jail time or fines, I will aggressively fight the charges and tireless defend my clients’ freedom to use and possess medical marijuana.

Recent News

California lawmakers have mixed views about the issue of medical marijuana, and these views are even more pronounced in Ventura. Even though the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 was passed, recent Ventura City Council meetings have undermined the rights granted to residents by the Act.

A Ventura City Council 4-3 vote on November 18, 2013, proposed by Mayor Mike Tracy, was successful in banning all medical marijuana dispensaries, and they can no longer operate within Ventura city limits – despite their having a state license to operate legally. The ban also stops dispensaries that operating outside Ventura from delivering marijuana to Ventura residents and this includes marijuana delivery systems from other states as well.

Activists speaking on the behalf of Ventura residents criticized the vote because it strips Ventura residents of their rights to safe access to their prescription medication, and makes it impossible for residents to obtain their medications otherwise.

What does this mean for medical marijuana patients?

Lawmakers have not repealed the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, so you have the right to possess and use medical marijuana obtained with a lawful prescription. Ventura City Council might believe banning dispensaries is it is OK to strip you of your right to safe access to legally obtained prescription medications, but California state law disagrees.

This is why you must act quickly if Ventura law enforcement charged you with a drug crime related to medical marijuana such as trafficking, possession, using, or cultivating it. Since you did not break the law by obtaining, possessing, or using your prescription and you should contact a criminal defense attorney who will fight to furiously protect you and your constitutional rights as a California citizen.

You have not committed a crime, and law enforcement should not treat you as a criminal.

This is why if you hire me, I will vigorously defend you and your legal right to safely obtain, possess, and use your legally obtained prescription medication.

If I take a case, I believe there is a case. I immerse myself fully on my client’s behalf and I do not stop until a solution is reached with the best possible outcome – and that does not include plea-bargaining.

Whether you have a prescription for medical marijuana or you own a medical dispensary or run any other large-scale operation, I use every resource at my disposal and will furiously fight to maintain your innocence in the face of illegal drug charges.

An educated client is a well-defended client. Learn more about medical marijuana, your rights, and the issues surrounding medical marijuana. Help me help you by contacting my Ventura offices, so we can review the criminal charges you face, and come up with a plan of attack.

Don’t let Ventura law enforcement strip you of your rights! Contact Ventura Medical Marijuana Lawyer Robert Helfend today and I’ll review the charges against you and your case in confidence.

Reference link for Ventura City Council Vote to ban dispensaries: