On June 10, 2005, Felix Kha drove through a red light in Garden Grove, California.
In another city, in another year, he might have gotten away with a traffic fine. But when officers pulled him over, they spotted a small cloth bag on the passenger’s seat. Inside the bag was a small plastic container, and inside the container was less than a third of an ounce of cannabis. The cannabis was medically prescribed for the chronic pain he suffered from, he told them, presenting his doctor’s referral. And medical cannabis had been legal statewide since the Compassionate Use Act (Proposition 215) took effect in 1996.