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Name: People v. Sandercock
Case #: B238858
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 10/17/2013

In a medical marijuana case, trial court erred when it approved a jury instruction that would allow the retail sale of marijuana. Defendants were charged with selling marijuana and possession of marijuana for sale. On separate occasions, the defendants delivered medical marijuana to an undercover detective in exchange for money. The defendants checked the detective’s medical marijuana recommendation and had her sign forms stating that she was a member of the defendants’ medical marijuana collective or that the defendants were her primary caregivers. Prior to trial, the court approved a defense instruction stating that providing money in exchange for marijuana may constitute “associating for the purpose of collectively cultivating marijuana.” The prosecution said that it could not proceed under that instruction. The court dismissed the cases and the prosecutor appealed. Reversed. The Medical Marijuana Program Act (MMPA) provides immunity for qualified individuals who associate in order to collectively or cooperatively cultivate marijuana for medical purposes. This immunity does not apply when a purchaser simply signs a paper stating she is a member of the seller’s collective or naming the seller as her primary caregiver. Members of a medical marijuana collective may reimburse the collective for medical marijuana but the sale price is limited to the member’s proportionate share of the cost of growing the marijuana and no person or entity may profit from the sale. Nothing in the Compassionate Use Act or the MMPA authorizes the retail sale of marijuana. The instruction approved by the trial court did not contain such limiting factors and did not inform the jury of the law’s ban on sales for profit.