CALIFORNIA – MEDICAL MARIJUANA LAWS

CALIFORNIA – MEDICAL MARIJUANA LAWS

 

Law: Proposition 215 – Passed in 1996

Possession: 8 ounces (oz) usable – 6 mature or 12 immature plants

Can you use other Legal State Cards: No

How the law reads:

 

Ballot Proposition 215 – Approved Nov. 5, 1996 by 56% of voters
Effective: Nov. 6, 1996

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Removes state-level criminal penalties on the use, possession and cultivation of marijuana by patients who possess a “written or oral recommendation” from their physician that he or she “would benefit from medical marijuana.” Patients diagnosed with any debilitating illness where the medical use of marijuana has been “deemed appropriate and has been recommended by a physician” are afforded legal protection under this act.

Approved Conditions: AIDS, anorexia, arthritis, cachexia, cancer, chronic pain, glaucoma, migraine, persistent muscle spasms, including spasms associated with multiple sclerosis, seizures, including seizures associated with epilepsy, severe nausea; Other chronic or persistent medical symptoms.

AmendedSenate Bill 420
Effective: Jan. 1, 2004

Imposes statewide guidelines outlining how much medicinal marijuana patients may grow and possess cannabis and have a Santa Cruz medical marijuana card.

Possession/Cultivation: Qualified patients and their primary caregivers may possess no more than eight ounces of dried marijuana and/or six mature (or 12 immature) marijuana plants. However, S.B. 420 allows patients to possess larger amounts of marijuana when recommended by a physician. The legislation also allows counties and municipalities to approve and/or maintain local ordinances permitting patients to possess larger quantities of medicinal pot than allowed under the new state guidelines.

S.B. 420 also grants implied legal protection to the state’s medicinal marijuana dispensaries, stating, “Qualified patients, persons with valid identification cards, and the designated primary caregivers of qualified patients … who associate within the state of California in order collectively or cooperatively to cultivate marijuana for medical purposes, shall not solely on the basis of that fact be subject to state criminal sanctions.”

[Editor’s Note: On Jan. 21, 2010, the California Supreme Court affirmed (S164830) the May 22, 2008 Second District Court of Appeals ruling in the Kelly Case that the possession limits set by SB 420 violate the California constitution because the voter-approved Prop. 215 can only be amended by the voters.

According to a Jan. 21, 2010 article titled “California Supreme Court Further Clarifies Medical Marijuana Laws,” by Aaron Smith, California Policy Director at the Marijuana Policy Project, the impact of the ruling is that people growing more than 6 mature or 12 immature plants are still subject to arrest and prosecution, but they will be allowed to use a medical necessity defense in court.]

Attorney General’s Guidelines:
On Aug. 25, 2008, California Attorney General Jerry Brown issued guidelines for law enforcement and medical marijuana patients to clarify the state’s laws. Read more about the guidelines here.

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