The California Supreme Court has rejected limits on medical marijuana imposed by state lawmakers, finding that people with prescriptions for pot can have and grow all they need for personal use. The high court ruled lawmakers improperly amended the voter-approved law that decriminalized possession of marijuana for seriously ill Californians with a doctor's prescription by limiting patients to eight ounces of dried marijuana and six mature or 12 immature plants.
The Compassionate Use Act, passed in 1996, set no limits on how much marijuana patients could possess or grow, stating only that it be for personal use. In 1997, the state's Supreme Court defined a lawful amount as enough to be “reasonably related to the patient's current medical needs.”
The state's quantity limits were passed in 2003 as part of a voluntary identification card program designed to protect against both drug trafficking and wrongful arrest by allowing police to quickly verify a patient's prescription. The court let stand the voluntary card program but found that the limits it imposes should not burden a person's ability to argue under the Compassionate Use Act that the marijuana possessed or grown was for personal use.