Medical Marijuana Laws in California
- 1991 – Proposition P – is approved in San Francisco, allowing AIDS and cancer patients in San Francisco to access medical cannabis via the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club
- 1992 / 1993 – 75% of Santa Cruz voters approved Measure A in November 1992, allowing access to medical marijuana for patients in need. The cannabis club The Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana was founded in 1993.
- 1995 – The Oakland Cannabis Buyers’ Cooperative was founded in 1995 shortly before the city council passed multiple medical cannabis resolutions. Assembly Bill 1529 was approved in 1995 to allow for medical cannabis, creating a medical necessity defense for patients using cannabis with a physician’s recommendation, for treatment of AIDS, cancer, glaucoma, or multiple sclerosis.
- 1996 – Proposition 215, or the Compassionate Use Act of 1996
- 2003 – Senate Bill 420, Marijuana Revenue and Regulation Act, establishes the medical marijuana identity card (MMIC) system and clarifies some of the vague language of Prop. 215.
- 2010 – In January, the California Supreme Court ruled in People v. Kelly that SB 420 did not limit the quantity of cannabis that a patient can possess. All possession limits were therefore lifted.
The California State Legislature passed the Medical Marijuana Program Act (MMPA). The MMPA:
- Established a voluntary statewide identification card system, or the Medical Marijuana Identity Card (MMIC)
- Set limits on the amount of medical marijuana each cardholder could possess
- Created rules for the cultivation of medical marijuana by collectives and cooperatives.
Telehealth for Cannabis in California
Telehealth is legal for medical cannabis consultations in California. You can see a compassionate and friendly medical marijuana physician online with Leafwell today.
Recreational Marijuana Laws in California
- 1972: California becomes the first state to vote on a ballot measure seeking to legalize cannabis. Proposition 19 – the California Marijuana Initiative – sought to legalize the use, possession, and cultivation of cannabis, but did not allow for commercial sales.
- 2016: Proposition 64
- November 9, 2016: Proposition 64 legalized the possession, cultivation, and use of marijuana for personal use for those aged 21 or over. The measure created two new taxes, one levied on cultivation and the other on retail price. Up to 28.5 grams of marijuana and 8 grams of concentrated marijuana are legal to possess under this measure. However, possession on the grounds of a school, day care center, or youth center while children are present remains illegal. An individual is permitted to grow up to six plants within a private home as long as the area is locked and not visible from a public place.
- January 1, 2018: Proposition 64 allowed for the sale and taxation of recreational marijuana.
Benefits of having a Medical Marijuana Card in a Recreational State Like CA
- Less tax to pay – medical marijuana patients usually pay around 15% tax, whereas recreational cannabis attracts a tax of anywhere between 23% and 40% – that’s some significant savings
- Greater possession limits – up to 8 oz. for medical cannabis patients (more if they can prove it was necessary to carry more), compared to 1 oz. of flower or 8 grams of concentrate for recreational users
- Fewer limits on edible and flower – greater product choice
- Access to both medical-only and medical & recreational dispensaries
- Some cities and jurisdictions in California have greater restrictions on recreational cannabis users than medical cannabis patients
- Reciprocity with some other states, meaning that your medical marijuana card may help you access medicinal cannabis in other states
Qualifying Conditions for Medical Marijuana Patients in California
- Cachexia (Wasting Syndrome)
- Chronic pain
- Persistent muscle spasms (e.g., spasms associated with multiple sclerosis)
- Seizures (e.g., epileptic seizures)
- Severe nausea
- Any other chronic or persistent medical symptom that either substantially limits a person’s ability to conduct one or more of major life activities as defined in the federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, or if not alleviated, may cause serious harm to the person’s safety, physical, or mental health.
Medical Marijuana for Minors in California
You must be aged 18 or over in order to qualify for a medical marijuana identification card (MMIC) in California. In California, you can get a Medical Marijuana Card for a minor (those aged under 18) with parental/guardian consent.
You qualify as a primary caregiver under California marijuana law if:
- You have been designated for that purpose by a legal medical marijuana user
- You are consistently responsible for that person’s housing, health, and/or safety
- The care you provide is independent of assistance you give the person in taking medical marijuana
- You began taking care of the person at or before the time you assumed responsibility for assisting with medical marijuana
- You have been convicted of any felony within the past 10 years
- Primary caregivers are covered under the California Compassionate Use Act (“CUA”).
Medical cannabis that is not in smoking or vaping form is to be administered to students by parents on campus if their school board has approved a policy providing the access. Parents must obtain a doctor’s recommendation to administer the cannabis products on campus.
Cannabis Possession Limits in California
- Medical patients – No defined limit, although some suggest 8 oz.
- Recreational users – 1 oz., or 8 grams concentrate – if carrying 0.5 oz. of cannabis, the maximum concentrate possession limit is 4 grams.
Cannabis Cultivation Laws in California
- For medical card holders – 6 plants, although medical cannabis users may get cultivation licenses to grow more – up to 99 plants.
- For recreational users – 6 plants
Cannabis and Gun Laws in California
It is not federally legal to legally possess a firearm and a medical marijuana identification card. However, California law does not strictly prohibit marijuana users from having guns, but using a gun in connection with an offense such as cultivation or possession with sale can result in additional criminal gun charges at the state level.
Employment Laws for Cannabis Card Holders
Simply holding a medical marijuana card in California will not automatically get a worker fired from their job. Employers are allowed to terminate employees who test positive for marijuana use, however, even if it is medical marijuana. Prop. 64 states that employers may maintain a drug-free workplace.
Local Cannabis Laws in California
Not all cities or counties in California are cannabis-friendly, and some restrict what types of cannabis activity can go on there. Cities and counties can have their own ordinances regarding marijuana, medical or recreational.
- Tuolomne County – Medical Cannabis Prohibition
- Tulare County – Prohibition of Non-medical Cannabis Activity Ordinance
- Tehema County – Cultivation Ordinance
- Sutter County – Cannabis Cultivation Ordinance
- Sierra County – Commercial Cannabis Prohibition and Personal Cultivation Regulations Ordinance
- Shasta County – Medical Cannabis Personal Cultivation Regulation Ordinance; Prohibition on Commercial Cannabis Activity Ordinance
- San Joaquin County – Commercial Cannabis Activity Prohibition Ordinance; Medical Cannabis Dispensary Prohibition Ordinance
- San Diego County – Zoning Ordinance
- San Benito County – Dispensary Ban Ordinance
- Sacramento County – Cannabis Cultivation Prohibition and Regulation Ordinance; Cannabis Prohibition Zoning Ordinance
- Riverside County – Cannabis Zoning and Cultivation Prohibitions Ordinances; Cultivation Prohibition and Public Nuisance Ordinance; Prohibition of Mobile Dispensaries and Delivery Ordinance
- Placer County – Commercial Cannabis Prohibition and Personal Cultivation Regulation Ordinance
- Napa County – Prohibition of Medical Dispensaries and Outdoor Cultivation Ordinance
- Modoc County – Commercial Cannabis Activity Prohibition Ordinance
- Marin County – Prohibition of Adult Use Cannabis Activities Ordinance
- Kings County – Medical Cannabis Ban Ordinance
- Kern County – Ordinance Banning Medical Cannabis Cultivation
- Fresno County – Fresno Medical Cannabis Ordinance
- Del Norte County – Ban Ordinances
- Contra Costa County – Ban & Personal Cultivation Regulation Ordinance
- Butte County – Adult Use Bans & Delivery Regulation Ordinance; Medical Bans & Delivery Regulation Ordinance
- Amador County – Dispensary Ban Ordinance; Cultivation Ban Ordinance; Non Medical Use Ban Ordinance
- Alpine County – Banned Activity Ordinance
- Alameda County – Dispensary, Delivery, Edibles Ordinance; Cultivation Ordinance
The usual types of legal rulings include:
- Bans or restrictions on the number of plants a person can grow and/or where they can grow cannabis
- Bans or restrictions on commercial cannabis activity, especially with regards to growing large numbers of plants (100 + plants)
- Bans or restrictions in terms of the public spaces where it is legal to consume cannabis
- Bans or restrictions on how many – or if – medical or recreational cannabis dispensaries can operate
- Bans or restrictions on the commercial sale or delivery of cannabis, medical and/or recreational