Cannabis for medical use was approved in California by 56% of voters on November 5, 1996.
This act removed 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.
Conditions Approved for Use of Medical Marijuana in California
- Persistent muscle spasms, including spasms associated with multiple sclerosis
- Seizures, including seizures associated with epilepsy
· Other chronic or persistent medical symptoms
Cannabis Quantities Allowed
- Possession: patients (or their primary caregivers) may legally possess no more than eight ounces of dried marijuana and/or six mature cannabis plants. Twelve immature cannabis plants are allowed in place of the six mature ones.
- Senate Bill 420 allows patients to possess larger amounts of marijuana when recommended by a physician.
- This legislation also allows councils and municipalities to approve and/or maintain local ordinances permitting patients to possess larger quantities of medicinal weed than allowed under the new state guidelines.
SB 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.”
May 2012 Update:
Recent news has highlighted federal raids on medical marijuana facilities which has been a disturbing development. In May 2012 the California Congressional Delegation voted 34-18 in favor of House Resolution 4326, aimed at cutting off federal funding for DOJ raids on medical marijuana. Unfortunately the resolution went on to be defeated in the house, but we will be following this matter with interest.
Back to Medical Marijuana state laws