Since the passage of Proposition 215 (the Compassionate Use Act) in 1996, marijuana has been legal for medical use. Despite this law, the district attorney offices of Alameda County, San Francisco County, and Contra Costa County continue to prosecute medical marijuana users with a valid prescription, often charging felonies with the risk of asset forfeiture and a prison sentence if convicted. At the Castillo Law Office, Oakland criminal defense attorney Ernesto Castillo uses his extensive experience fighting serious drug charges to aggressively defend marijuana prosecutions by demonstrating that any sale, cultivation, or possession of marijuana was for medicinal purposes and was legal under California law.
When the police seize marijuana from a person with a medical marijuana prescription, the question becomes whether the amount is reasonable for medical use, or whether the amount is unlawfully possessed or for sale. Many times the government charges sales because of the large quantity of marijuana even without evidence of a transaction, but if there is a transaction, there is the defense of providing the marijuana as a primary caregiver. Other defenses outside of medical marijuana law include a motion to suppress due to an unlawful search or seizure, motion to disclose informant, entrapment, and statute of limitations or undue delay in prosecution.
The Attorney General Guidelines on Security and Non-Diversion of Marijuana Grown for Medical Use help explain what amount of marijuana is reasonable to possess and grow under state law. The Guidelines clarify that there are two standards for reasonable possession and cultivation of medical marijuana, one found in Health and Safety Code section 11362.77 and the other in Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act.
For medical marijuana patients charged with possession, cultivation, or sale, possession of less than eight ounces or 6 mature or 12 immature plants is presumed lawful, but any other amount can still be lawful with an affirmative defense under the Compassionate Use Act. The affirmative defense of lawful medical merely requires that the defendant raise a reasonable doubt as to whether the amount possessed or cultivated is reasonably related to the patient's needs.
Oakland criminal defense attorney Ernesto Castillo uses his extensive experience defending serious drug cases to fight marijuana charges. Castillo Law Office hires respected expert witnesses in medical marijuana cultivation and medicine to prove that the amount of marijuana possessed was reasonable for medical use, even in large amounts; Castillo Law Office cross-examines the government witnesses on the maturity of the plants, the expected harvest, and the strain; and Castillo Law Office uses the evidence, like a lack of cash on the premises or a lack of individual packaging, to show that the marijuana was used for lawful personal medical purposes. The goal of these strategies is to obtain a not-guilty verdict or a negotiated plea to a minor offense like misdemeanor possession of marijuana, or possession of marijuana with deferred entry of judgment under Penal Code section 1000.
Oakland criminal defense attorney Ernesto Castillo has handled many serious drug cases. Experience defending serious drug cases can mean the difference between a not-guilty verdict or a good plea-deal, versus time in jail or prison. You need a defense attorney with particular knowledge and skill in this area to succeed.
At Castillo Law Office, we have the experience and knowledge to aggressively fight your medical marijuana case. Call us today for a free consultation.