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A state appellate court in Sacramento has ruled, that for purposes of medical use, concentrated cannabis qualifies in the state of California as medical marijuana. The story originates from a 2013 ruling by El Dorado Superior Court Judge James R. Wagoner. Judge Wagoner ruled that a medical marijuana patient was violating his probation by being in possession of concentrated cannabis.
Sean Mulcrevy, of Cameron Park, was charged with the unlawful possession of concentrated cannabis. During a routine probation search performed by a sheriff’s deputy, Sean disclosed the fact that he was a medical marijuana patient. Sean was in possession of 0.21 grams of concentrated cannabis and 3.33 grams of marijuana. He was charged with a misdemeanor and was alleged to have violated his probation because of his failure to “obey all laws.”
Sean, 22 years of age, had a valid physician’s recommendation for the use of medical marijuana and more importantly its active ingredient, THC. His recommendation was to treat migraine headaches as well as acid reflux disease. Sean had purchased the marijuana along with the cannabis concentrate in a medical marijuana store.
Judge Wagoner had evaluated the California Compassionate Use Act, or CUA. The California Compassionate Use Act is the 1996 voter initiative approving medical use of marijuana with a valid doctor’s recommendation. Wagoner reviewed the existing legal authority, which indicates that concentrated cannabis is covered under the CUA. But Wagoner rejected the authority calling it “unsound” and ruled that the CUA does not apply to concentrated cannabis. Wagoner went on to extend Sean’s probation by two years, but stayed implementation of the sentence pending an appeal.
A unanimous three-justice panel of the 3rd District Court of Appeal in Sacramento disagreed with the ruling by Judge Wagoner and reversed the judge’s decision that Sean violated his probation by possessing the concentrated cannabis. According to California’s Health and Safety Code, concentrated cannabis is the separated resin, whether crude or purified, obtained from marijuana.
The justices concluded that Judge Wagoner violated Sean’s right to defend himself when the judge prevented him from presenting a defense based on the California Compassionate Use Act. They went on to say that concentrated cannabis is covered by the CUA and thus there is insufficient evidence that Sean violated his probation in light of that conclusion. The justices noted that the CUA does not define marijuana or concentrated cannabis. But, they added, the terms have already been defined in other sections of the law when voters approved the CUA over 18 years ago.