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Name: Chavez v. Superior Court
Case #: G033378
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 09/30/2004
Subsequent History: 12/22/04: rev. den.
Summary

The dismissal of drug charges in the interest of justice does not entitle a defendant to a return of marijuana for medical purposes when the amount of marijuana possessed would preclude a defense under the Compassionate Use Act. The defendant here was convicted of two counts of selling and one count of transporting marijuana and was sentenced to six years in prison. While on bail pending appeal, he was arrested on new charges, and a search of his home turned up 46 live marijuana plants, ten pounds of marijuana drying in a shed, and about four and a half pounds of cultivated marijuana. Shortly thereafter his first conviction was affirmed on appeal and he began serving his prison term, and the People moved to dismiss the new charges. Following that dismissal, the defendant moved the court for return of seized property, including five pounds of marijuana. He presented evidence that he was entitled to possess the marijuana under Health and Safety Code section 11362.5. The trial court denied the motion, and the appellate court affirmed. Although the People conceded that defendant was a qualified patient under the Compassionate Use Act, the defendant likewise conceded that the amount of marijuana in his possession had exceeded the limitations of that act. The appellate court held that the amount possessed precluded him from protection under section 11362.5, and further held that the Compassionate Use Act contained no provision for the return of seized property.