Watch-On-The-Web: Important Medical Marijuana Case Before California Supreme Court

  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director November 2, 2009

    Supreme Court to Hold Special Outreach Session at UC Berkeley Law School

    Live TV Broadcast of Oral Arguments on Nov. 3 in Cases Involving Medical
    Marijuana, DNA Evidence, and Sex Offender Law

    [UPDATE!!! UPDATE!!! California NORML Coordinator Dale Gieringer attended today’s oral arguments and filed this report:

    In a remarkable turn of events, both sides  at today’s California Supreme Court Hearing on the Kelly case agreed that the so-called SB 420 quantity limits in Health and Safety Code 11362.77  are unconstitutional when applied to limit patients’ right to a compassionate use defense under Prop. 215.  

    Instead, they discussed how  the Kelly decision  could be recast so as not to invalidate 11362.77 when used for other purposes: for example, to protect card-holding patients from arrest when they are within the limits.

    Michael Johnsen from the Attorney General’s Office admitted that their “position had evolved”  since the Kelly case was first argued, when they had tried to claim that the limits in 11362.77 were constitutional.  Asked by the court why they should even be hearing the case in that event,  Johnsen said that the court should narrow the Appellate Court decision so as to not throw out 11362.77 altogether.

    “I have never had the pleasure of getting up in an appellate argument and saying I agree with everything my opponent said,” remarked defense attorney Gerald Uelmen.

    Patrick Kelly was originally charged with growing 7 plants and 12 ounces, an amount above the SB 420 limits.  His defense argued that he could not be convicted for exceeding the limits, because Prop. 215 guarantees patients the right to have whatever amount is reasonably related to their medical needs.   The Appellate Court agreed that the limits were an unconstitutional amendment to Prop. 215, and struck down the entirety of 11362.77 as unconstitutional.

    Today, both sides agreed that 11362.77 was unconstitutional as applied to Kelly’s case, but that it should be preserved in other situations, where it provides useful guidelines for arrest.  The court’s final decision will be forthcoming in 90 days.]

    San Francisco—For the ninth year in a row, the California Supreme
    Court will reach out to hundreds of students at a special oral argument
    session from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 3, 2009, at the
    University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, at Booth Auditorium,
    2778 Bancroft Way, Berkeley.

    The educational program is designed to improve public understanding of
    state courts and is being held in collaboration with the School of Law.
    Law students, university faculty and staff, and dozens of high school
    and middle school students are expected to attend.

    California Chief Justice Ronald M. George and Berkeley Law Dean
    Christopher Edley, Jr., will make opening remarks, followed by a
    question-and-answer session between law students and the justices.


    California Channel, a public affairs cable network, will broadcast oral
    arguments in all five cases to be argued before the court. The network
    reaches 6.5 million viewers across the state and will offer a satellite
    link to facilitate coverage by other stations. There is no direct link to the webcast yet, but it will be available online at The California Channel under the ‘Live Web’ section, as well as on your local cable TV provider in CA.

    11:00 a.m. (Pacific): People v. Kelly (Patrick K.) (and related habeas corpus matter), S164830 concerns the Legislature’s authority to impose quantity limitations on users of “medical marijuana.”

    The five cases follow:

    10:00 a.m.: People v. Robinson (Paul Eugene), S158528 involves the use
    of DNA profile evidence to identify an unnamed defendant in a felony
    complaint and arrest warrant.

    11:00 a.m.: People v. Kelly (Patrick K.) (and related habeas corpus
    matter), S164830 concerns the Legislature’s authority to impose
    quantity limitations on users of “medical marijuana.”

    1:30 p.m. In re J. (E.) on Habeas Corpus, S156933 and other consolidated
    cases involve residential restrictions imposed on persons required to
    register as sex offenders.

    2:30 p.m.: People v. McKee (Richard), S162823 concerns the validity of
    amendments to the Sexually Violent Predator Act, making commitments
    indeterminate, instead of for a term of two years.

    3:30 p.m.: People v. Lessie (Tony), S163453 involves the legal effect of
    a minor’s request to speak to a parent during a police


    The Supreme Court has launched an educational Web site for the special
    session, which includes detailed summaries and briefs for each case to
    be argued, at www.courtinfo.ca.gov/courts/supreme/oralarg-briefs.htm.

    Detailed case summaries, with information on the background and legal
    issues involved in each case, are attached to this news release and can
    be found at
    www.courtinfo.ca.gov/courts/supreme/briefs/berkeley-case-synopsis.doc .

    These materials may be used by students, teachers, and members of the
    public to learn more about the five cases that will be argued before the
    Supreme Court on November 3, 2009.

    The Supreme Court also will hear oral arguments on Wednesday, November
    4, 2009, in its courtroom in the Earl Warren Building, Fourth Floor, 350
    McAllister Street. Those arguments will not be televised, but they are
    open to the public. The court’s calendar for both days is at
    www.courtinfo.ca.gov/courts/calendars/documents/SNOVC09PDF .


    Editor’s Note: News media may request reserved seats through Lynn
    Holton at lynn.holton@jud.ca.gov or Susan Gluss at
    sgluss@law.berkeley.edu .

    Pooling for TV and radio stations will be available near Booth
    Auditorium on November 3, 2009.


    There is no direct link to the webcast yet, but it will be available online at The California Channel as well as on your local cable tv provider. This is on the Cal Channel homepage: “Upcoming Events – November 3, 2009: California Supreme Court Special Public Outreach Session from Berkeley, California”


    19 responses to “Watch-On-The-Web: Important Medical Marijuana Case Before California Supreme Court”

    1. […] post:  Watch-On-The-Web: Important Medical Marijuana Case Before California Supreme Court Share and […]

    2. Anonymous says:

      you guys should take down that pop up on the main page. every browser on the planet blocks it at this point.

    3. General-Jake says:

      lol usually i scrutinize norml articles and carefully prepare a comment… but im so dam high rite now im gona skip the law class for right now and return when shits less funny.

    4. An Anonymous Anthony says:

      Let’s talk about how much it hurts our cause when family and friends follow the link from someone’s Facebook page to a NORML article and, fascinated, continue reading even down to comments section, where–and shouldn’t they have known it, hasn’t the government been saying it all along–marijuana advocates will actually brag about being too high to attend their college classes.

      You can come back now; it stopped being funny.

    5. An Anonymous Anthony says:

      Oh, wait, never mind: you’re not skipping your class. Sorry, I’m an ass who totally misread your comment, and I respect your right to be high.

    6. Grandma 420 says:

      EDUCATE, EDUCATE, EDUCATE. History rewrites itself; even history books are updated. We need to update the cannabis system because 1939 was long before we had all the information that marijuana is not harmful as once thought and it doesn’t make your aggressive and go out and kill people like I was taught in school. Refer Madness days are gone. The more we educate and get the word out the more pubic acceptance there will be.

    7. Bob says:

      We just had the dog squad go through our house for cannabis 2 hours ago. I despise the cops. I would like to be friends with the cops but because of the marijuana prohibition laws I despise the cops.

    8. Joshua Stewart says:

      I hope the citizens of CA aren’t pushing the lawmakers too hard. I mean it’s a precedent just to be able to legally buy marijuana and in order for a strict state like mine to ever consider it three things must happen in CA: (1) Dispensaries must pay taxes ALWAYS and use discretion with regard to their clientele, (2) Smokers need to be mindful of their actions and words e.g. “Dude let’s go score some dope and get fried!”, (3) Don’t try to push too hard too fast-There’s never a need for a profit margin over 40%.