The Fry Decision about Medical Marijuana

The Fry Decision about Medical Marijuana

Any user of medical marijuana must be aware that full compliance with the law does not provide legal protection from harassing searches by law enforcement, arrest, incarceration, and prosecution.

In State v. Fry, the Washington Supreme Court held that police officers could obtain a search warrant and lawfully enter a home to look for evidence of a crime when the only information they possessed was that the occupants were growing marijuana, and after the occupants presented the officers with a medical authorization form.

In essence, the Fry Court held that because the Washington State Medical Use of Marijuana Act establishes an affirmative defense to a charge of unlawful possession or cultivation, it does not negate probable cause to search a home or arrest occupants who possess or grow marijuana. Instead, police have discretion to search the home and decide whether to charge the occupants. Only then, in an ensuing court case, does the defense become applicable.

Walla Walla criminal defense attorneys at Burkhart and Burkhart are qualified to assist you with medical marijuana issues in Washington.