Wolfgang Kovach, a Southern California-based Attorney specializing in medical marijuana law, answers questions from cannabis consumers regarding their rights. 


My friend and I both have recommendations, can I freely, without money exchanged, give him some of my marijuana that I get from my dispensary? 

No, the Medical Marijuana Defense under the CUA is not available to a charge of giving away marijuana.

The medical marijuana defense provided by H&S Code § 11362.5 (Compassionate Use Act of 1996 (“CUA”) is not available to a charge of giving away marijuana under H&S Code § 11360. (People v. Galambos (2002) 104 Cal.App.4th 1147, 1165–1167; People ex rel. Lungren v. Peron (1997) 59 Cal.App.4th 1383, 1389) The defense is not available even if the marijuana is provided to someone permitted to use marijuana for medical reasons (People v. Galambos, supra, 104 Cal.App.4th at pp. 1165–1167) or if the marijuana is provided free of charge (People ex rel. Lungren v. Peron, supra, 59 Cal.App.4th at p. 1389).

I was once told hash oil and concentrates were illegal — is this still the case?
Yes, hash oil and concentrates are legal to possess for medical purposes as long as the use is reasonably related to the patient’s current medical needs and was recommended or approved by a physician. 

In the case of Chavez v. Superior Court (2004) 123 Cal.App.4th 104 stated: “Proposition 215 was approved by the voters without specificity as to the strength, quality, or quantity of marijuana to be used for medical purposes as long as the use is reasonably related to the patient’s current medical needs and was recommended or approved by a physician.”  The court cited with approval the Cal. Attorney General’s Opinion: 86 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 180 (2003) that concluded hashish and concentrated cannabis may be used for medical purposes under the Medical Marijuana laws. 

In the case of People v. Bergen (2008) 166 Cal.App.4th 161, 167-168, the Court concluded that H&S Code § 11358 applies as a general matter to the extraction of marijuana resin to produce concentrated cannabis,” but the manufacture of concentrated cannabis by chemical extraction (such as Butane) was still prohibited by H&S Code § 11379.6(a).

This is because the (CUA) H&S Code § 11362.5, subdivision (b)(2) provides: “Nothing in this section shall be construed to supersede legislation prohibiting persons from engaging in conduct that endangers others, nor to condone the diversion of marijuana for nonmedical purposes.”

Can anyone work at a dispensary? Is there an age requirement?
No, it is illegal for anyone 18 years of age or under to work at a dispensary. The medical marijuana defense provided by H&S Code § 11362.775 (MMP) is not available to a charge of hiring, employing, or using a minor in the operation of a dispensary under H&S Code section 11361.

11361.  (a) Every person 18 years of age or over who hires, employs, or uses a minor in unlawfully transporting, carrying, selling, giving away, preparing for sale, or peddling any marijuana, who unlawfully sells, or offers to sell, any marijuana to a minor, or who furnishes, administers, or gives, or offers to furnish, administer, or give any marijuana to a minor under 14 years of age, or who induces a minor to use marijuana in violation of law shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for a period of three,
five, or seven years.
          (b) Every person 18 years of age or over who furnishes, administers, or gives, or offers to furnish, administer, or give, any marijuana to a minor 14 years of age or older shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for a period of three, four, or five years.

I keep hearing about people growing indoors but I don’t really have much room in my house and I have indoor cats. Can I grow weed in my backyard?
Yes, if you are the owner of the home you, as a qualified patient under the CUA, can cultivate the quantity of marijuana which your doctor’s recommendation states has been recommended as reasonably related to your then current medical needs.  If you rent your home, your landlord could evict you for cultivating.

Can I get fired for testing positive for marijuana on a drug test for work even if I have a doctor’s recommendation? I would think having the letter from the doctor would be the final proof that I can smoke. Hope they can’t.
Yes, you can be fired for testing positive for marijuana on a drug test for work even if I have a doctor’s recommendation.  In the case of Ross v. RagingWire (Cal Supreme Court 2008) holding an employer may require preemployment drug tests and take illegal drug use into consideration in making employment decisions; the Compassionate Use Act is not applicable to employment law

For more information on Wolfgang Kovach, check out the website: www.420marijuanalaws.com 

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