Medical marijuana has been legal in California since 1996, but it wouldn’t be accurate to say that things have been smooth sailing since then. In fact, federal agents often make arrests on those who are technically following their state’s laws. This contentious situation is only made worse by the fact that the arrests interfere with doctors’ prescriptions.
One case in 2012, however, also helps to show the shades of gray that exist even within California’s own laws.
According to law enforcement, they raised the home of Dennis and Deborah Little back in October of 2012 because the couple owned some 29 marijuana plants that were good for hundreds of pounds worth of the drug. The Littles were then charged with unlawful cultivation of marijuana and possession of marijuana for sale and eventually tried back in March of this year.
The cultivation charge was dismissed by the judge and a jury later acquitted them of their possession charge.
Both Dennis, 65, and Deborah, 61, are legally authorized to take marijuana as medication for their respective diseases. Dennis has severe depression and neuropathy, while Deborah has HIV.
Their lawsuit names both San Diego County Sheriff William Gore and San Diego Police Chief Shelly Zimmerman. Others who belong to the San Diego County Integrated Narcotics Task Force were named too. The Littles’ lawsuit alleges that their home was searched despite a lack of evidence. Excessive force and violations of due process are also mentioned amongst other accusations in their lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages.
If you have a prescription for medical marijuana in California, you should also be sure to have the name and number for a good attorney too. Just because a licensed doctor gave you a prescription doesn’t mean you won’t run afoul of law enforcement eventually. As this case shows, even local police can make the wrong call where your right to marijuana is concerned.