There is a national medical marijuana prescription standard established by the National Institute on Drug Abuse in their Compassionate Investigational New Drug Program: about a half-pound per month or 2 ounces per week per patient, which works out to 6 pounds per year.

SB 420 [11362.77 H&S, jury instruction 12.24.1] sets a specific guideline of 6 mature or 12 immature plants and 8 ounces of dried, processed medical marijuana. These are “safe harbor” amounts, not a ceiling.

The ultimate question is always whether the amount possessed, cultivated, transported, etc. and the circumstances surrounding the matter, are reasonably related to the patient’s current medical needs. The doctor may evaluate the patient’s medical condition in order to determine the amount a patient and his caregiver may need to cultivate and possess. The doctor’s recommendation is the standard for the patient, law enforcement, and the courts.

ONLY “BUDS” COUNT FOR PATIENTS. The leaves and stalks are not counted.

Note from Bruce: The 1992 DEA Cannabis Yields study states that about 7-10% of the freshly cut, mature plantweight becomes dried, manicured, medical-grade bud.

Expert testimony for the defense may be needed in court to explain the factors involved in growing and harvesting medical marijuana in order to have enough available for the patient’s needs. Some of these factors include:

  • A patient growing an outdoor crop can harvest typically once a year, whereas patients growing indoor crops may yield less per crop but can harvest 2 or even 3 times per year.
  • A patient who uses marijuana in edible form rather than smoking it may consume 4 times the amount to have the same medicinal effect.
  • A patient may have increased tolerance to medicines from previous pharmaceutical or street drug use and therefore require larger dosages.
  • A patient with chronic pain may use more.
  • There are other cultivation variables inherent in nature that affect yields, such as insects and weather, to produce the amount a patient needs.
  • As grow cycles are variable, a patient must set aside enough medicine to carry him through until harvest, which can be as long as a year. What may appear to be an excess amount, might actually be a year’s supply of medicine.

The Law Offices of Bruce M. Margolin, Esq.

Located in Los Angeles, CA

The Law Offices of Bruce M. Margolin, Attorney, is located in Los Angeles, California, and serves clients throughout LA County, including Santa Monica, Burbank, Long Beach and San Fernando.

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