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California Medical Marijuana Statutes Demystified

March 20, 2010

Media, misinformation, and changing statues and legislation all lead to confusion and trepidation about the rights and privileges afforded by a medical marijuana recommendation.

Beginning in California in 1996, Proposition 215, known as the (California) Compassionate Use Act (or CCUA) was passed by voters and became California Health & Safety Code 11362.5. The CCUA allows for patients and designated caregivers to cultivate and possess marijuana for personal use provided they have obtained a written marijuana recommendation from a California-licensed physician.

In January of 2004, the California legislature passed SB420, (now California Health & Safety Code 11362.7-83) which broadens the CCUA to provide patient protection for transportation and other circumstances. SB420 also allows patients to form cannabis cultivation collectives. Finally, the bill places limits on possession and cultivation and creates a voluntary state ID card system.

These two actions combined create some protection for patients with a medical marijuana recommendation. To summarize, under current California law, an individual patient with a marijuana recommendation may cultivate 6 mature or 12 immature cannabis plants and possess up to 8 oz. of processed cannabis.

Under Federal law, specifically the Controlled Substances Act, marijuana possession is still considered a misdemeanor, and cultivation a felony. However, Attorney General Eric Holder stated in March of 2009 that federal law enforcement agencies were shifting away from the pursuit of any medical marijuana patient that has a marijuana recommendation and is in compliance with the laws of their state.

If you would like more information, you can click the following links to: email us a question, find out if you pre-qualify for an appointment, or contact us!


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