April 30 – A very bad court opinion that disallows MMJ sales by collectives has been published by the Second Appellate District, Division Two in Los Angeles: Trutanich v Joseph #B232248. The decision plays havoc with established law recognizing the legality of sales by medical cannabis collectives.
The court ruled that Jeffrey Joseph, owner of the Organica collective, could not legally sell MMJ because he was not a primary caregiver. Hardly ever can collectives legally qualify as primary
caregivers for their members according to the state Supreme Court’s Mentch decision. The Joseph decision directly conflicts with state law SB 420 (HSC 1136.775), which authorizes sales by collectives regardless of whether they are caregivers. It also conflicts with a
series of established appellate decisions that have recognized the legality of sales by collectives, such as People v Urziceanu, County of Butte v Superior Court, People v Hochanadel, and People v Colvin.
The decision was imbalanced and legally unsophisticated due to the fact that the defendant had no attorney and represented himself in pro per. It was initially signed unpublished on March 26, but subsequently published at the request of the League of California Cities on April 18. This means that it can be cited as legal precedent in court. Cal NORML is requesting that the Supreme Court depublish the decision.
The ongoing confusion in California courts highlights the need for new legislation to establish clear, statewide rules for the legal operation of dispensaries and collectives. Two bills that would solve the problem are AB 2312 by Tom Ammiano and SB 1182 by Mark Leno. Cal NORML urges friends to contact the legislature (1) in support of SB 1182 and (2) in support of AB 2312.
– D. Gieringer, Cal NORML