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In California, felony marijuana cases are being tossed out of court because of a gray area in the law. How much medical marijuana is too much?
The question has stumped police, prosecutors and defense attorneys after a recent Supreme Court ruling, the Associated Press reports. The high court struck down a state law that imposed an 8-ounce limit and instead entitled patients to a "reasonable" amount of the drug to treat their ailments.
As a result, medical marijuana cases have been tossed out because no one can say confidently the exact amount of medical marijuana patients may legally possess. That has left California's marijuana policy in a gray area and made the law harder to enforce.
Law enforcement officials have complained about being stuck in the middle while some prosecutors have backed away from felony marijuana cases. Defense attorneys have argued against clear-cut limits that would allow a strict interpretation of the law. The onus of cracking down on medical marijuana laws also has been put on states by the federal government, making it especially challenging.
The murky legal landscape may only become more confusing if state voters legalize marijuana under the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010.
So far, there have been varying approaches from county for county in the way law enforcement is handling medical marijuana cases.
To clear up some of the confusion and develop guidelines, the Supreme Court has said a political push must come from state voters.
California voters legalized medical marijuana in 1996 but since then local law enforcement and federal authorities continue to wrestle how the laws should be upheld.