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California Court: Concentrates are Medicine

Mark Miller

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Last week a California appellate court spread some holiday cheer to statewide pot patients when unanimously ruling concentrated cannabis products qualify as medical marijuana. The 3rd District Court of Appeal in Sacramento reversed an earlier court ruling that a legal medical pot patient violated his probation by possessing concentrated cannabis.

The case in question involved 22-year-old Sean Patrick Mulcrevy of Cameron Park, California, who was charged with unlawful possession of concentrates after a probation search of his residence turned up BHO (concentrated marijuana). Interestingly, authorities officially designated the confiscated concentrates as 0.16 grams of “honey oil” and 0.05 grams of “dabs.” However, no specific distinction between the two was provided.

Mulcrevy was charged with a misdemeanor, but more significantly, possession of the concentrates violated the terms of his probation from an unrelated 2011 firearms conviction.

El Dorado Superior Court Judge James R. Wagoner, who first heard the case, opined that concentrated cannabis is not medicine as it is not referred to or included in California’s 1996 medical marijuana law. However, the appellate court ruled Judge Wagoner violated Mulcrevy’s rights by denying him the right to present a defense based on the state’s medical pot law. While the law does not specify concentrates, it does define marijuana as “all parts of the plant Cannabis sativa“.

The court concluded, “The statutory definition of “marijuana” includes the resin extracted from the Cannabis sativa L. plant and “concentrated cannabis” is that resin. Therefore, the [lower] trial court erred when it found that possession of concentrated cannabis is not covered by the CUA [Compassionate Use Act of 1996].”

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