Legislation would overturn court’s ruling on medication possession

The legislation would allow a patient’s representatives to transport prescription

By Hamed Aleaziz

Daily Journal | Staff Writer

A bill proposed in the Assembly would clarify that a patient’s representatives may pick up and transport prescription medications.

Assemblyman V. Manuel Perez, D-Coachella, introduced the legislation after a 3rd District Court of Appeal panel ruled that only the patient could possess and transport a prescribed control substance. People v. Carboni, C066518 (Cal. App. 3rd Dist. Jan. 3, 2014).

Acting Presiding Justice Harry E. Hull Jr., who wrote the opinion, acknowledged the court might be creating a “legal conundrum,” and invited the Legislature to take a look at it.

Law enforcement groups, including the California District Attorneys Association and the California State Sheriffs’ Association, declined to comment on the bill.

The court’s ruling set up a conflict with state law that allows pharmacists to dispense prescribed controlled substances to a patient’s representative.

“We can’t on the one hand say that someone’s authorized by law to pick it up and at the same time if they do pick it up they are going to be subject to felony prosecution,” said Ignacio Hernandez, legislative advocate for California Attorneys for Criminal Justice. The organization of criminal defense lawyers have been lobbying in favor of Perez’s bill.

Perez said he wrote AB 2603 because constituents in his rural, medically underserved district often don’t have access to transportation.

“If it’s a friend or family member that runs an errand for someone who doesn’t have transportation, or someone who is immobile, why should I go to jail or be fined for that?”