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Oct-07-2009 00:21printcomments

Collective Cannabis Cultivation OK by California Supreme Court

ASA filed suit in May 2006 on behalf of David Williams, 56, and six other collective members in response to a warrantless search of his home by Butte County Sheriffs in 2005.

California Supreme Court
California Supreme Court

(SACRAMENTO) - The right of California patients to collective cultivate medical marijuana, and then sue if that right is violated, has been affirmed by the California Supreme Court in another landmark legal victory for Americans for Safe Access.

The court last month refused to review an appellate court ruling that had found for the rights of a seven-patient collective in Paradise.

"The California Supreme Court has just told local law enforcement that they must uphold the medical marijuana laws of the state and not hide behind competing federal laws," said ASA Chief Counsel Joe Elford, who litigated the case on behalf of the patients.

Butte County officials had challenged the lower court's ruling, arguing that all members of a patient collective must physically work the garden that produces the cannabis, and that state law only provides an affirmative defense to criminal charges.

Butte County Superior Court Judge Barbara Roberts ruled otherwise in September 2007, finding that the contribution of collective members may be solely financial, and patients "should not be required to risk criminal penalties and the stress and expense of a criminal trial in order to assert their rights."

The 3rd District Appellate Court said further that patients enjoy "the same constitutional guarantee of due process available to all individuals," and

"[t]he fact that this case involves medical marijuana and a qualified medical marijuana patient does not change these fundamental constitutional rights or an individual's right to assert them."

ASA filed suit in May 2006 on behalf of David Williams, 56, and six other collective members in response to a warrantless search of his home by Butte County Sheriffs in 2005.

Under threat of arrest and prosecution, Williams had been forced by law enforcement to uproot 29 of the 42 plants the collective was cultivating.

After receiving repeated reports of interference with patient collectives throughout the state, ASA brought the action to show that collectives and cooperatives are protected under state law.

The plaintiffs will be seeking damages and attorney's fees from the county.

Further information:

California Supreme Court disposition (Case # S175219)

Ruling by California's Third Appellate District Court

Background on the Butte Case

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

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calyx October 7, 2009 8:56 am (Pacific time)

This means you can grow with others and share with others, medicinally.

Grandma October 7, 2009 6:11 am (Pacific time)

What does this mean to the elderly patients in Lake Forest California? The politicians shut down our collectives two weeks ago.

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