Portland NORML News - Thursday, November 27, 1997

Court Allows Defense In Pre-215 Cases But Rejects Unlimited Amounts
(California Supreme Court Leaves Lower-Court Ruling Intact)

From: "W.H.E.N." 
To: "Talk Group" 
Subject: HT: ART: CA defines med mj limits
Date: Thu, 27 Nov 1997 18:49:49 -0800
Sender: owner-hemp-talk@hemp.net

Court allows defense in pre-215 cases but rejects unlimited amounts 

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The state Supreme Court has left intact a ruling
that applies California's medical marijuana law to cases before it passed,
but limits marijuana possession to amounts needed for personal medical

The court unanimously denied review Tuesday of a lower-court ruling that
provided the first definitions of some of the terms of Proposition 215,
approved by state voters last November. The ruling now becomes binding on
trial courts statewide.

The law legalized possession and cultivation of marijuana, with a doctor's
recommendation or approval, for use against cancer, AIDS, glaucoma,
migraines and other illnesses for which it provides relief. Marijuana
remains illegal under federal law.

It was invoked by Sudi Pebbles Trippet of San Francisco, who was convicted
of possessing and transporting about two pounds of marijuana found in her
car by Kensington police in October 1994. Trippet, a street vendor who
wears hats made of hemp, said she smoked marijuana regularly for spiritual
purposes and for relief of migraine headaches she had suffered since

Ruling before the passage of Proposition 215, Contra Costa County Superior
Court Judge Richard Patsey refused to let the jury hear testimony by a
psychiatrist who said he would have prescribed marijuana for Trippet's
migraines had it been legal.

Trippet was sentenced to six months in jail but has been free on bail
during her appeal.

The 1st District Court of Appeal ruled in August that she was entitled to
a new trial under Proposition 215.

The court said the measure covers Trippet's case, under standard legal
principles allowing defendants to take advantage of favorable changes in
the law while appeals are pending.

The court also said that although Proposition 215 expressly provides a
defense only to charges of cultivating and possessing marijuana for
medical use, it also can be used to counter charges of transporting

The amount and method of transportation must be ``reasonably related to
the patient's current medical needs,'' the court said.

However, the court rejected Trippet's argument that Proposition 215 allows
possession of enough marijuana to meet future medical needs.

At a retrial, the jury should determine whether any doctor had recommended
or approved Trippet's use of marijuana and, if so, whether she was
carrying more than she reasonably needed for current medical use, the
court said.

``The statute certainly does not mean, for example that a person who
claims an occasional problem with arthritis pain may stockpile 100 pounds
of marijuana just in case it suddenly gets cold,'' said Justice Paul
Haerle in the 3-0 ruling.

The state did not appeal the ruling. Trippet did, arguing that Proposition
215 should be interpreted to allow a user to grow and possess enough
marijuana for predictable future medical needs.

The case is People vs. Trippet, S064580.




Comments, questions and suggestions.E-mail

Reporters and researchers are welcome at the world's largest online library of drug-policy information, sponsored by the Drug Reform Coordination Network at: http://www.druglibrary.org/

Back to the 1997 News page.

This URL: http://www.pdxnorml.org/112797.html