Updated on January 5, 2018. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Richard Koffler, MD, Board Certified Physiatrist
November 05, 1996, California voters approved Ballot Proposition 215 (effective November 06), removing state-level criminal penalties on the use, possession and cultivation of marijuana by patients possessing either a “written or oral recommendation” from their physician, advising possible benefit from the medical use of marijuana. It also outlined the definition of a recommended physician, including that the physician must be responsible for some aspect of patient care, must have a license in good standing in California, and also comply with any accepted medical standards.
January 01, 2004, Senate Bill 420, was amended, imposing statewide guidelines on how much a medical marijuana patient may cultivate or possess.
August 25, 2008, Jerry Brown, the California Attorney General, released the guidelines for law enforcement and medical marijuana patients — “Guidelines for the Security and Non-division of Marijuana Grown for Medicinal Use“. And, October 09, 2015, the California Attorney General, signs three bills — AB 243, AB 266, and SB 634 — to regulate California’s medical marijuana industry, clarifying licensing requirements for cultivation, distribution, transportation, and more.
California Medical Marijuana Program — BALLOT PROPOSITION 215
This initiative measure was submitted to the people in accordance with the provisions of Article II, Section 8 of the Constitution. Proposition 215 added a section to the Health and Safety Code known as the Compassionate Use Act of 1996.
Text of the Law
SECTION 1. Section 11362.5 was added to the Health and Safety Code, to read:11362.5. (a) This section shall be known and may be cited as the Compassionate Use Act of 1996.
(b)(1) The people of the State of California hereby find and declare that the purposes of the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 are as follows:
(A) To ensure that seriously ill Californians have the right to obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes where that medical use is deemed appropriate and has been recommended by a physician who has determined that the person’s health would benefit from the use of marijuana in the treatment of cancer, anorexia, AIDS, chronic pain, spasticity, glaucoma, arthritis, migraine, or any other illness for which marijuana provides relief.
(B) To ensure that patients and their primary caregivers who obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes upon the recommendation of a physician are not subject to criminal prosecution or sanction.
(C) To encourage the federal and state governments to implement a plan to provide for the safe and affordable distribution of marijuana to all patients in medical need of marijuana.
(2) Nothing in this section shall be construed to supersede legislation prohibiting persons from engaging in conduct that endangers others, nor to condone the diversion of marijuana for non-medical purposes.
(c) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no physician in this state shall be punished, or denied any right or privilege, for having recommended marijuana to a patient for medical purposes.
(d) Section 11357, relating to the possession of marijuana, and Section 11358, relating to the cultivation of marijuana, shall not apply to a patient, or to a patient’s primary caregiver, who possesses or cultivates marijuana for the personal medical purposes of the patient upon the written or oral recommendation or approval of a physician.
(e) For the purposes of this section, ”primary caregiver” means the individual designated by the person exempted under this section who has consistently assumed responsibility for the housing, health, or safety of that person. SEC. 2. If any provision of this measure or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, that invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of the measure that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this measure are severable.
California Medical Marijuana Program — “GUIDELINES FOR THE SECURITY AND NON-DIVERSION OF MARIJUANA GROWN FOR MEDICAL USE”
GUIDELINES FOR THE SECURITY AND NON-DIVERSION OF MARIJUANA GROWN FOR MEDICAL USE
In 1996, California voters approved an initiative that exempted certain patients and their primary caregivers from criminal liability under state law for the possession and cultivation of marijuana. In 2003, the Legislature enacted additional legislation relating to medical marijuana. One of those statutes requires the Attorney General to adopt “guidelines to ensure the security and non-diversion of marijuana grown for medical use.” (Health & Saf. Code, § 11362.81(d).1) To fulfill this mandate, this Office is issuing the following guidelines to (1) ensure that marijuana grown for medical purposes remains secure and does not find its way to non-patients or illicit markets, (2) help law enforcement agencies perform their duties effectively and in accordance with California law, and (3) help patients and primary caregivers understand how they may cultivate, transport, possess, and use medical marijuana under California law.