In 1996 the majority of California voters approved a measure which would enact medical marijuana in the state. In order for an individual to obtain a prescription for medical cannabis in California, they must receive permission from a licensed doctor who is approved to prescribe cannabis. The individual must also have been diagnosed with any of the following conditions:
Note: Licensed physicians may offer prescriptions for medical marijuana for a condition not listed on the above list, as required by circumstances. It is up to the discretion of the physician whether an individual would benefit from medical marijuana.
California is one of the rare states that did not originally have a limit as to how much marijuana a patient can have on their person at any one time. Unfortunately, Senate Bill 420, which took effect in 2004, put an end to that. Now in California medical marijuana patients and caregivers are permitted to cultivate up to 18 marijuana plants - only 6 of which can be flowering - and are allowed to possess up to 8 ounces (half-pound) of marijuana. An exception to the possession limit is if a physician specifically recommends that a patient needs to have over 8 ounces on them at any time. This would be especially true for a chronically disabled patient who does not have very good mobility and can only seldom travel to a dispensary. The diagnosed condition of a patient must also be pretty severe in order for a doctor to recommend more than 8 ounces. One of the biggest downsides to California's medical marijuana law is that it allows individual townships, cities and counties to adopt their own medical marijuana laws. Many smaller towns and counties have banned medical marijuana altogether. California is also a state that does not allow medical marijuana patients from outside states to obtain their medicine.
For any questions, comments or concerns regarding the medical marijuana program in California, please contact one of the following:
California is not only easy-going with their medical marijuana laws, but their laws surrounding recreational use are also very lax. California is one of a handful of states (not counting Colorado and Washington) who has decriminalized the recreational use of cannabis. Possession of 28.5 grams or less of marijuana can result in nothing more than a civil infraction and a $100 fine. However, possession with intent to distribute any amount of cannabis is a felony offense, punishable by anywhere from 16 months to 3 years incarceration.
Sale of any amount of cannabis is also a felony, resulting in 2 to 4 years in prison. Individuals who are over 18 years of age and are caught selling marijuana to those persons between the ages of 14 and 17 years of age can find themselves facing a felony offense with the possibility of 3 to 7 years imprisonment. Cultivation of any amount is also a felony that is punishable by 16 months to 3 years incarceration.