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Name: People v. Phomphakdy
Case #: C056881
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 07/31/2008
Subsequent History: rev. granted 10/28/08, S166565

Appellant was prejudiced by the application of an unconstitutional provision of the Medical Marijuana Program Act. Appellant was charged with marijuana cultivation and possession for sale, and offered a medical marijuana defense. Over objection by both parties, the court instructed the jury pursuant to the Compassion Use Act (CUA) and the Medical Marijuana Program Act (MMPA). On appeal following his conviction, appellant contended that his convictions for possession of marijuana had to be reversed because the MMPA unconstitutionally amends the CUA by adding numerical limitations not found in the CUA. The appellate court agreed and reversed. A statute enacted by the voters may only be changed with the approval of the voters, unless specified otherwise. The court found that the unconstitutional provision could be severed without affecting the validity of the remaining portions of the MMPA. Further, application of the unconstitutional provision prejudiced appellant, given the court’s instructions, the prosecutor’s closing argument, and the evidence presented.