Back in 1996, California became the first state in the US to legalize the use of medical marijuana when voters passed Proposition 215. Since then, the District of Columbia plus 22 other states have allowed programs for use of medical marijuana while another 11 states allow usage of high cannabidiol (CBD), low TetraHydroCannabinol (THC) products for medical purposes. Additionally, Washington state and the state of Colorado have legalized the recreational use of cannabis. Nevertheless, despite these strides by various states, the Federal government still classifies cannabis as a Schedule I substance. This means according to the federal government, marijuana has a high dependency potential and no recognized medical uses. Thus, it is a federal offense to distribute marijuana though in October 2009 the Obama administration circulated a memo to federal prosecutors encouraging them to not prosecute those who distribute cannabis for medical purposes. All over the state of California there are some interesting pieces of legislation regarding the use, growing, selling, and distribution of medical marijuana.
In the Golden State, there are three main statutes that regulate the use of medical marijuana. The California Compassionate Use Act 1996, Cal. Health & Safety Code, 11362.5 (1996) is commonly known as the California Proposition 215. This law allows any patient who has a valid physician’s recommendation or the designated primary caregiver to cultivate and possess marijuana for medical purposes. The California Health & Safety Code, 11362.7 – 11362.83 (2003) sets out rules on the use of medical marijuana and the issuance of special identity cards for those who qualify. The Cal. Health & Saf. Code, §§ 11362.7 – 11362.83 (2003) sets out the Safe Access Now (SAN) garden guidelines for medical marijuana cultivation. So if you know how to grow weed then the SAN garden guidelines is the applicable statute.
In the state of California you qualify to purchase and consume medical marijuana if you suffer from any debilitating illness whereby a qualified physician deems it appropriate to use marijuana for medical purposes. You may also use medical marijuana if you suffer from multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, migraines, arthritis, cachexia, chronic pain, HIV/AIDS, or any form of cancer. Though there are no State-licensed dispensaries allowed to provide marijuana, some cities have locally regulated marijuana dispensaries.
The California marijuana statutes recognize the status of a patient’s primary caregiver. This is usually an individual designated by a physician or by an able patient who holds a valid identification card. The designated primary caregiver has consistent assumed responsibility for the patient’s housing, health, and/or safety. By law, the primary caregiver should be over 18 years of age or be a parent to a qualified patient.
While the use of medical marijuana is legal in the state of California, it is regulated by a set of established laws. The three statutes define who a qualifying patient is, where and how much marijuana someone can grow, and laws to protect patients who need easy access to their grow areas.