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Is medical marijuana legal in California?

In 1996, Proposition 215 made medical marijuana legal in the State of California. It was later codified in Health and Safety Code Section HS 11326.5. Also known as the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, HS 11362.5 provides, in part, the following:

  1. 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 persons 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.
  2. 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.
  3. To encourage the federal and state governments to implement a plan for the safe and affordable distribution of marijuana to all patients in medical need of marijuana.

What is important to understand about HS 11362.5 is that it does not allow possessing marijuana for non-medical purposes in the State of California. Therefore, someone can still be prosecuted under laws including:

  • HS 11357
  • HS 11358
  • HS 11359,
  • HS 11360

The act also protects physicians in the state of California from prosecution for recommending marijuana for medical purposes. HS 11357, possession of marijuana, and HS 11358, cultivation of marijuana will not apply to a patient, or a patient's primary caregiver, who possesses or cultivates marijuana for personal medical purposes. However, the patient or the caregiver must receive a written or oral recommendation or approval of a physician.

Under HS 11362.5(e) a primary caregiver is the individual designated by the medical marijuana recipient that has consistently assumed responsibility for the housing, health or safety of that person.

Contact Kern Law, APC today, and speak with me personally if you are in need of representation on a medical marijuana issue. I will provide a free consultation.