UKIAH, Calif. ( AP ) - Medical marijuana users in Mendocino County will now be allowed to grow twice as many pot plants, District Attorney Norm Vroman said Thursday.
Users were previously allowed 12 immature plants, including six that were flowering. But Vroman said he's learned from patients that's insufficient to meet their needs. The change goes into effect immediately.
People will now be allowed 25 plants, flowering or immature, outdoor or indoor.
Despite the increase, patients must limit themselves to two pounds of processed pot per year. If the plants yield more than the limit, patients could find themselves on the wrong side of the law.
Marvin Lehrman, director of the Ukiah Cannabis Club, said he's pleased with the increase.
''I am of course against all limits, but I do think it's a good amount,'' he said.
The increase isn't dramatic when compared to neighboring Sonoma County where users can grow as many as 99 plants, Vroman said.
Medical Marijuana Users Can Grow 25 Plants For Personal Consumption
Medical marijuana users in Mendocino County can grow twice as much pot under revised guidelines announced Thursday by District Attorney Norm Vroman.
Users will be allowed to grow as many as 25 plants for personal medical use. The old limit was 12, with six flowering.
"We reached that conclusion by talking to the marijuana users and their caregivers, and they were able to convince me that they're not good enough gardeners to make six plants produce enough marijuana to keep them in marijuana, keep them in medicine," Vroman said.
The new guidelines eliminate distinctions between mature and immature plants, outdoor and indoor cultivation.
Mendocino County still allows considerably fewer plants than neighboring Sonoma County, where medical marijuana users can grow 99 plants.
But Vroman said he's unlikely to prosecute anyone with a legitimate medical claim, regardless of the number of plants they grow -- in part because of two recent Sonoma County cases, including one in which a jury acquitted two men who grew 600 plants for a medical marijuana club.
In the other case, a defendant growing 110 plants for his personal use was acquitted.
"I'm not dim-witted," Vroman said Thursday. "I'm not going to try and reinvent the wheel."
On the other hand, he said someone with 7 pounds of packaged pot and $60,000 in cash isn't likely to have much luck with a medical defense. "We didn't just fall off the cabbage truck here," he said.
Mendocino was the first county to issue medical marijuana guidelines after voters passed Proposition 215 in 1996.
Vroman and Sheriff Tony Craver supported the initiative and jointly issued the original guidelines in 1999.