California medical marijuana patients won a court battle Thursday.
In a unanimous decision, the state Supreme Court struck down a state law that set an 8-ounce limit on the amount of medical marijuana a patient can possess at one time. The court, in a ruling issued in San Francisco, said the measure approved by the Legislature in 2003 was an illegal amendment of the medical marijuana law enacted by state voters in 1996.
The initiative, known as the Compassionate Use Act, doesn't set a limit and allows patients to possess the amount needed for "personal medical purposes." The court ruled in the case of a Los Angeles County patient, Patrick Kelly, who was prosecuted and sentenced to probation for possessing 12 ounces.
Chief Justice Ronald George wrote that the 2003 law illegally amended the initiative because it "effectuates a change in the Compassionate Use Act that takes away from rights granted by the initiative statute."
The ruling is good news, bad news for patients, Joe Elford, lawyer for Americans for Safe Access, believes.
"The California Supreme Court did the right thing by abolishing limits on medical marijuana possession and cultivation," Elford, told the Associated Press. "At the same time, the Court may have left too much discretion to law enforcement in deciding what are reasonable amounts of medicine for patients to possess and cultivate."
Bay City News contributed to this report.