MMPA Is Broader than CUA
November 20th, 2015

The instruction in People v. London was found to be inadequate because it was based solely on the Compassionate Use Act (“CUA”) and did not comport with provisions of the Medical Marijuana Program Act (“MMPA”). (People v. London (2014) 228 Cal. App. 4th 544, 564.) The CUA allows a patient and his or her primary care giver to grow or possess marijuana solely for the patient’s medical purposes, and for no other persons or groups of persons. (Ibid.) However, the MMPA is broader and its Guidelines allow marijuana grown through a nonprofit collective or cooperative to be “allocated based on fees that are reasonably calculated to cover overhead costs and operating expenses,” even if the defendant is not the primary care giver of other members of the collective. (H&S § 11362.775, Guidelines, § IV B6, p. 10.) Accordingly, when a defendant asserts a medical marijuana defense to cultivating marijuana, it is important that the court give a defense instruction that covers both the CUA and MMPA. The court should provide an instruction that clearly provides that the defendant may receive reimbursement for out-of-pocket costs incurred in cultivating the marijuana and the reasonable value of the cultivation services provided. (People v. London, supra, 228 Cal. App. 4th at 566.)

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