Proposition 215 in California

What is Proposition 215?

icon  13 Sep, 2017  /  icon  0        Author: Chloe

The law can be a complex endeavor just to understand. There are so many ordinances, bylaws, acts, and propositions governing the same activities. The California Compassionate Use Act, or Proposition 215, became law on November 6, 1996, under Health & Safety Code 11362.5. Voters approved it in the same year, making it legal for legitimate medical patients to treat themselves with marijuana.

The law allowed patients to possess and grow cannabis for their private medical use, and their designated caregivers could do the same, provided they had authentic marijuana recommendations in California from licensed physicians. It was not enough on its own, though. Legislative statute Senate Bill 420 came into effect on January 1, 2004 to broaden Proposition 215.

Listed under California Health & Safety Code 11362.7-.83, Senate Bill 420 included several issues facing the medical marijuana community, such as transportation and other offenses. It enabled patients to create “cooperatives” or “collectives” for medical cultivation, and it established a voluntary I.D. card program run by state and county health departments.

Then, California Legislature passed the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act, or MMRSA, in 2015. This act established a state licensing system for medical cannabis cultivation, transportation, dispensaries, and other business-type regulations, with approval from local jurisdictions. This law became effective on January 1, 2016, but the state requires sufficient time to implement it.

California has until January 1, 2018, to create the required information systems, agencies, and regulations to begin the process of issuing licenses. Until then, local governments can create their own licensing ordinances to prepare local businesses for state licensing. Those currently operating within state and local law may continue until official denial or approval of their license applications.

In the meantime, anyone wanting to apply should send his or her applications to the state Board of Equalization for a Resale Permit. You should get approval from your local government, as well. So, what exactly does Proposition 215 cover, and how do all the additional bills and acts affect medical marijuana patients in California?

Offences Covered by Proposition 215

Proposition 215 expressly permits marijuana cultivation and possession for personal medical use. It includes all medical cannabis products, such as hashish, edibles and concentrated marijuana. The law also permits transportation for medical purposes. In a genuine caregiver or collective relationship, Senate Bill 420 protects against charges for possession, transportation, sale, and property leasing.

Qualifying Conditions under Proposition 215

Under Proposition 215, any ailment that could get relief from medical marijuana is a “qualifying condition.” It includes illnesses such as anorexia, HIV/AIDS, cancer, chronic pain, glaucoma, spasticity, seizures, arthritis, migraines, or any other disease that cannabis can treat. Doctors write marijuana recommendations in California for hundreds of issues, including insomnia, PTSD, PMS, anxiety, muscle cramps, nausea, depression, and even addiction.

Qualifying Physicians under Proposition 215

Any physician, surgeon, and osteopath with a license to practice in California can write traditional and online marijuana recommendations. They may not prescribe cannabis to patients, only “recommend” or “approve” its use. Proposition 215 protects qualifying doctors from federal prosecution, but it does not include herbal therapists, chiropractors, or any other holistic practitioners.

Cultivation Laws of Proposition 215

Everyone with legitimate medical marijuana recommendations in California can grow their own. Their primary caregivers can cultivate it for them, defined as “the individual designated by the person exempted under this act who has consistently assumed responsibility for the housing, health, or safety of that person.” In other words, caregivers must provide patients with more than just marijuana.

Under Senate Bill 420, patients can cultivate for each other in non-profit “cooperatives” or “collectives.” However, huge gardens are a law enforcement problem, as many collectives contain more members than Senate Bill 420 allows. Under federal law, those with more than 100 plants risk a mandatory five-year sentence, and many local governments now ban or restrict collective medical grows.

Quantities Permissible under Proposition 215

Proposition 215 allows patients to have as much as they need for their personal medical use. However, exceeding “reasonable” amounts could still result in charges. Under MMRSA, qualified patients can have a grow space of 100 square feet, and primary caregivers can grow 100 square feet per patient under their care. These protections do not prevent local governments from limiting or banning cultivation.

Arrests and Raids for Proposition 215 Patients

Patients can and do face charges, despite the protections they have under Proposition 215. Many legitimate patients have dubious recommendations that get them into trouble with the law. If police deem a grow amount excessive, they have a right to raid property and arrest perpetrators. Sometimes neighbors complain and police arrest patients. Courts rule on the medical claim in these cases.

Under the federal U.S. Controlled Substances Act, marijuana remains illegal. It is a felony crime to grow weed and a misdemeanor to possess any, despite individual state laws. If caught growing or carrying cannabis on public or federal land, such as parks and forests, you will likely face federal charges. Until the federal government legalizes, there will continue to be arrests and raids on legitimate patients.

Medical Marijuana Cards under Proposition 215

The law does not require patients to have an ID card, but having one can provide additional protection in the event of arrest. State ID cards are available at all local health departments, and the system has safeguards in place to protect the privacy of patients. Employers and police cannot use the registry to track patients, which means they cannot base hiring decisions or persecute anyone listed on it.

Online Marijuana Recommendations in California

Although Proposition 215 does not specifically permit online consultations between doctors and patients, other laws in the Health & Safety Code do. Patients can join an online collective and get their marijuana recommendations, ID cards, and medical supplies from a single website. The process could not be any easier, and the online weed delivery occurs in 45 minutes or less – safely, legally, and discreetly.

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