It is not that you cannot smoke, but it is correctly called a Physician Statement and Recommendation. It is not a license or permit, as I too thought.

It is the same as saying there is no such thing as a DRUNK DRIVING. Yes it is illegal to drink too much and drive, but it is not called a drunk driving. The correct term is DUI, Driving Under the Influence.

The Code Section for DUI has evolved from 502 to 23102 to 23152 of the Vehicle Code. Because it has always ended in a 2 people under the influence are said to be deuced.

Though drunk driving has changed vehicle code numbers, for Possession of MJ have remained as 11357 of the Health and Safety code. In those early days I represented about 1000 defendants for this charge. Unlike today, it often resulted in a jail sentence and in Texas a larger amount could mean prison. Today you can get a Deferred Entry of Judgment for a first offense under Penal Code 1000 conviction and for a second offense Prop 36 applies and also results in a dismissal.


Currently there is no way to determine current MJ use while at the scene. It would involve testing that takes time. Law enforcement is working on an “on the scene test.” Soon you will be arrested for DUI/Drunk Driving on MJ too. As MJ becomes more mainstream MJ may be the substance of choice for “chillin”.

Many years ago as a young Criminal Trial Attorney after I left my job with the government, I wrote an article for the paper. It was entitled ONE TOKE AWAY! Over 30 years ago I thought MJ legalization was around the corner, but I did not know how many corners it would take. Well the time has come.

Legalization has created new jobs: dispensaries, doctors to handle recommendations, as well as office employees to handle paperwork and phones. New businesses like Weedmaps, home delivery and medical evaluations are thriving.

Legislations starts in January of 2018 that requires PRE packaging of products and not loose buds etc. However, recreational marijuana became legal state wide, but not federally, after Yes on Prop 64 passed in Nov ’16. MJ became decriminalized for possession of under 28 grams under the compassionate use act (Prop 215) in 1996. Our local laws were drastically relaxed in 2016 after voters approved adult use of MJ act under Prop 64.

Adults 21 and over may purchase, possess and consume up to 1oz. in a private residence or establishment licensed for MJ. It is legal to grow up to 6 MJ plants as long as there is a secure place not observable by the public. To qualify for protection afforded by CA Medical Cannabis laws one must be a qualified patient or primary caregiver.

Becoming a qualified patient necessitates getting a doctors letter entitled “Physician Statement and Recommendation”. You make an appointment with a MJ Doctor that all shops can recommend. In preparation for this article I researched not only the laws, but made an appointment and got my Letter of Recommendation, which involved a short exam where a real MD asked questions.

In my attempt to research MJ for this article I learned the most common forms of cannabis are Concentrates, Edibles and Flower. There are 3 types of medical Cannabis:

1. Indica: is high in CBD or Cannabidiol, very low THC therefore not psychoactive. Used for pain, seizures, antioxidant, appetite suppression, neuroprotection.

2. Sativa: is high in Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a psychoactive substance, and is low in CBD. Used to assists insomnia, appetite stimulant, pain, migraines, anti-inflammatory diseases, seizures.

3. Hybrids: cross breeding of Indica and Sativa which have characteristics of both and are a mixture of various ratios of THC: CBD.

All have a warning to keep out of reach of children.

The Modalities of Medical Cannabis use are:

1. Vaporizing is preferred because you are not burning the toxic carbon into your lungs. Vaping involves a cartridge. All combinations and strengths can be obtained for vaping. Dabbing is a form of vaporization in which potent cannabis concentrates over combustible flower. Rugs and Buds are other names for flowers.

2. Edibles: cookies, brownies, candy etc. These have the psychoactive THC, and non-psychoactive CBD, molecules in edibles, depending on the extracts used. They are contraindicated for new users due to the THC molecule that is converted by gastric enzymes into a highly potent TCH that is ten times what was originally ingested. 3. Tinctures/sublingual: tiny drops of the oil is put under the tongue, held for a minute and swallowed. It is the preferred method due to rapid absorption.

4. Lotions/Creams/Salve/Massage Oil/Body Oils are applied to skin and for localized pain like arthritis. Also for rashes.

For Cannabis consumption the second most important consideration, after the flower, is the delivery method. The Inhalation delivery allows the gases to enter the lungs before being absorbing in the bloodstream….this includes smoking and vaporization.

The Term 420 is used for MJ and there are 420 parties referencing April 20, the date the law changed (and also Hitler’s birthday) and 710 which upside down spells OIL. It is a concentrate and also a term associated with MJ.

Cities like Coachella just shortened the distance needed between cultivators and residents from 1000 to 600 ft. and cities are jumping on the band wagon in legalizing MJ because of all the money involved. I know people from Wall Street who made $500,000/year, who quit their jobs and moved to Colorado, because of all the potential money.

Unfortunately one of biggest challenges is that the banks will not accept money from MJ growers etc. MJ is still not legal federally and banks are not allowed to do biz with MJ companies. In addition it is hard to get a location in some cities as landlords on El Paseo will not lease to them. They worry their other tenants will complain about the type of people “hangin”.

If a minor is arrested for possession it is an Infraction if under 18. As part of the sentence the defendant is required to take a drug class for education.

The Sale of MJ without a license is a misdemeanor and carries up to 6 months jail sentence and or a $500 fine. However in our current climate not much will happen.

We still may not use MJ in public, while driving or as passenger in a car, plane or boat/golf cart. In addition landlords can restrict the use of MJ on their property by including it in the lease. However medical marijuana patients can have it in their car. They should keep a copy of their Recommendation in the glove compartment.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. Anyone 21 or older can buy recreational marijuana in many states.

2. You can possess pot and get high legally in many states, as long as you’re at least 21. Recreational marijuana was legalized last year in California and other states.

3. Medical marijuana is legal in 29 states.

4. You can still be fired for using marijuana. Even if you show up for work as sober as a judge, you can be fired for flunking a drug test in most states. This has happened to some medical patients<http://money.cnn.com/2015/06/17/news/brandon-coats-medical-marijuana-fired-dish-network/index.html?iid=EL>.

5. The government owns and operates a pot store. The city of North Bonneville, Washington, opened the Cannabis Corner<http://money.cnn.com/2015/03/10/news/economy/government-owned-pot-shop/?iid=EL> in 2015. It’s the first municipally owned pot shop. Profits go to special city projects, like upgrading the local playground. The Desert Sun reported this week that some people are trying to buy very small cities so they can set their own law.

6. There’s a black market for pot, even where it’s legal. That’s not just because old habits die hard. Illegal pot is cheaper because it’s tax-free, while legal recreational pot is taxed heavily… 28% tax in Colorado; 37% tax In Washington; Oregon 17% and 20%, depending on the city and county. Growers, processors, retailers and buyers all pay taxes. Medical marijuana tends to be cheaper than recreational because it is taxed at a lower rate.

7. Banking is a buzzkill for pot shops. Pot remains illegal in the eyes of the federal government, which classifies it the same as Heroin. Banks are regulated by the feds, which means that most banks won’t go near dispensaries<http://money.cnn.com/2015/04/14/news/economy/pot-marijuana-banking/?iid=EL>, forcing many of them to deal in cash. In 2014, the Justice Department <http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/14/politics/u-s-marijuana-banks/?iid=EL> issued guidelines for banks on how to legally provide financial services to state-licensed marijuana businesses. But many banks remain wary of weed.

8. You can’t take marijuana across state lines. Even when two legal states share a border, as Washington and Oregon do, carrying weed across state lines runs afoul of federal law. Don’t bring it on a plane, and don’t mail it. Nevada does allow reciprocity for medical marijuana patients.

9. You can’t smoke and drive. Driving while stoned is illegal and dangerous, just like drunken driving. But there’s no Breathalyzer for weed, a conundrum for cops…for now. That could change, because two companies – Hound Labs and Cannabix Technologies – are testing Marijuana Breathalyzers.

10. You can’t smoke weed in public anywhere. Sorry, but those 420 pot parties in city parks are illegal, even in states where cannabis is legal.



“TOP LAWYER” – Palm Springs Life-(DUI)-2011-17

“TOP LAWYER”- Inland Empire Magazine Nov. ’16

PERFECT 10.0 AVVO Peer Rating