California v. Mentch

195 P.3d 1061, 45 Cal. 4th, 85 Cal. Rptr. 3d 480 (2008)

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California v. Mentch

California Supreme Court
195 P.3d 1061, 45 Cal. 4th, 85 Cal. Rptr. 3d 480 (2008)

Facts

Roger Mentch (defendant) was an authorized medical-marijuana user who grew marijuana to consume and sell to other authorized medical-marijuana users through Mentch’s medical-marijuana distribution and consulting business. Mentch advised his customers on consumption of marijuana to treat the customers’ illnesses and occasionally transported customers to doctor’s appointments. When Mentch grew more marijuana than was needed for treatment purposes, Mentch gave the excess marijuana to marijuana clubs. Mentch was arrested and charged with manufacture of a controlled substance and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance after police officers searched Mentch’s home and found nearly 200 marijuana plants. Two of Mentch’s patients, Laura Eldridge and Leland Besson, testified at Mentch’s trial. Eldridge and Besson had purchased marijuana from Mentch regularly and exclusively during the prior year, and Eldridge had recently entered into a relationship with Mentch and stayed at Mentch’s house on at least one occasion. Based on these facts, Mentch argued for an acquittal under a provision in California’s medical-marijuana law that immunized authorized medical-marijuana patients’ designated primary caregivers against conviction for possessing or cultivating marijuana to treat the caregivers’ patients. The trial court refused to instruct the jury on the caregiver defense raised by Mentch and denied Mentch’s motion for acquittal. Mentch was convicted and appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Werdegar, J.)

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