ASA Files Amicus Brief in California Supreme Court
October 11, 2007 | Joe Elford
Since the passage of the Compassionate Use Act over a decade ago, California courts have struggled to determine what a person must do to establish himself as the primary caregiver for a qualified patient. Providing marijuana alone, several courts have said, is insufficient even to have a jury hear a defense based on one's status as a primary caregiver. In People v. Mentch, which is pending before the California Supreme Court, the Court will provide further guidance. The Compassionate Use Act defines a "primary caregiver" as "the individual designated by the person exempted under [the Compassionate Use Act] who has consistently assumed the responsibility for the housing, health, or safety of that person." Because the California electorate has declared that marijuana is medicine, it is ASA's position that consistently cultivating marijuana for a qualified patient, standing alone, is sufficient to establish one's status as a primary caregiver. The Attorney General, on the other hand, has argued that one must do more, such as house, feed, or clothe the qualified patient. ASA's amicus brief seeks a definition of primary caregiver that is more faithful to the language of the Compassionate Use Act and the voters' intent.