420 Magazine Background

California Laws, Part 1

Smokin Moose

Fallen Cannabis Warrior
Proposition 215, the California Compassionate Use Act, was enacted by the voters and took effect on November 6, 1996, as California Health & Safety Code 11362.5. The law removes criminal penalties for personal use possession and cultivation of marijuana for medical purposes by patients ( and their designated "primary caregivers" ) who have a physician's recommendation or approval.

Senate Bill 420, a legislative statute, went into effect on January 1, 2004, as California Health and Safety Code 11362.7-.83. This law broadens Prop. 215 to transportation and other offenses in certain circumstances; allows patients to "collectively or cooperatively" cultivate for medical purposes; allows probationers, parolees, and prisoners to apply for permission to use medical marijuana; and sets limits on where marijuana may be smoked. The law also establishes a statewide, voluntary ID card system, which when fully operational, patients with ID cards will be protected from arrest provided they adhere to specified quantity limits.

How much can patients posses or cultivate? SB420 establishes a baseline statewide limit per patient of 6 mature or 12 immature plants, plus 8 ounces processed cannabis. Patients can be exempted from these limits if their physician specifically states that they need more. In addition, individual cities and counties are allowed to enact higher, but not lower, limits than the state standard. For instance, Mendocino County allows 25 plants and 2 lbs. of processed marijuana per patient. Patients may obtain zip-ties for medical marijuana plants from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Department. Call 463-4411.

The legality of the limits in SB420 has been disputed. Prior to SB420, Prop 215 allowed patients whatever amount of marijuana they need for their medical purposes. Patients were not infrequently acquitted for personal use gardens of 100 plants or more.Some Prop. 215 advocates maintain that SB 420 cannot constitutionally limit the amount patients may legally have for personal use. This issue remains to be settled in the courts.

What offenses have medical exception? Prop. 215 explicitly covers marijuana possession and cultivation ( Health and Safety Code Sections 11357 and 11358 ) for personal medical use. Hashish and concentrated cannabis, including edibles, ( HSC 11357a ) are also included. Transportation ( HSC 11360 ) has also been allowed by some courts, and will be covered for state cardholders under SB420. Within the context of a bona fide caregiver relationship and quantity limits, SB420 provides qualified protection against charges for possession for sale ( 11359 ); transportation, sale, giving away, furnishing, etc. ( 11360 ); providing or leasing a place for distribution of a controlled substance ( 11366.5, 11570 ).

Who is protected by Prop. 215? Patients with a physician's recommendation and their primary caregivers, 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." Examples: spouse or partner, professional caregiver or nurse. Prop. 215 does not recognize multiple caregivers. Caregivers may have more than one patient. However, SB420 restricts individual caregivers to no more than one patient outside their own "city or county" ( it's not clear whether this allows multiple patients from different cities within the same county ).

The next column will cover who can be arrested, and what illnesses are covered under Prop. 215.

Source: Willits News (CA)
Copyright: 2007 Willits News
Contact: editorial@willitsnews.com
Website: The Willits News - HOME
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