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California: Medical Marijuana Law Overview and State Fines and Penalties - Archive

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Julie Gardener

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California Marijuana Law Overview​

SUMMARY: Fifty-six percent of voters approved Proposition 215 on November 5, 1996. The law took effect the following day. It removes state-level criminal penalties on the use, possession and cultivation of marijuana by patients who possess a "written or oral recommendation" from their physician that he or she "would benefit from medical marijuana." Patients diagnosed with any debilitating illness where the medical use of marijuana has been "deemed appropriate and has been recommended by a physician" are afforded legal protection under this act. Conditions typically covered by the law include but are not limited to: arthritis; cachexia; cancer; chronic pain; HIV or AIDS; epilepsy; migraine; and multiple sclerosis. No set limits regarding the amount of marijuana patients may possess and/or cultivate were provided by this act, though the California Legislature adopted guidelines in 2003.

The medical use provisions in California do not include reciprocity provisions protecting visitors from other medical use states.

AMENDMENTS: Yes. Senate Bill 420, which was signed into law in October 2003 and took effect on January 1, 2004, imposes statewide guidelines outlining how much medicinal marijuana patients may grow and possess. Under the guidelines, qualified patients and/or their primary caregivers may possess no more than eight ounces of dried marijuana and/or six mature (or 12 immature) marijuana plants. However, S.B. 420 allows patients to possess larger amounts of marijuana when such quantities are recommended by a physician. The legislation also allows counties and municipalities to approve and/or maintain local ordinances permitting patients to possess larger quantities of medicinal pot than allowed under the new state guidelines.

Senate Bill 420 also mandates the California Department of State Health Services to establish a voluntary medicinal marijuana patient registry, and issue identification cards to qualified patients. To date, however, no such registry has been established.

Senate Bill 420 also grants implied legal protection to the state's medicinal marijuana dispensaries, stating, "Qualified patients, persons with valid identification cards, and the designated primary caregivers of qualified patients ... who associate within the state of California in order collectively or cooperatively to cultivate marijuana for medical purposes, shall not solely on the basis of that fact be subject to state criminal sanctions."

MEDICAL MARIJUANA STATUTES: California Compassionate Use Act 1996, Cal. Health & Saf. Code, § 11362.5 (1996) (codifying voter initiative Prop. 215).

See also: Guidelines For The Security And Non-Diversion Of Marijuana Grown For Medical Use

ACCEPTS OTHER STATES' REGISTRY ID CARDS? No

Approved Conditions: AIDS, anorexia, arthritis, cachexia, cancer, chronic pain, glaucoma, migraine, persistent muscle spasms, including spasms associated with multiple sclerosis, seizures, including seizures associated with epilepsy, severe nausea; Other chronic or persistent medical symptoms.

Possession/Cultivation: Qualified patients and their primary caregivers may possess no more than eight ounces of dried marijuana and/or six mature (or 12 immature) marijuana plants. However, S.B. 420 allows patients to possess larger amounts of marijuana when recommended by a physician. The legislation also allows counties and municipalities to approve and/or maintain local ordinances permitting patients to possess larger quantities of medicinal pot than allowed under the new state guidelines.

• 8 oz usable; 6 mature or 12 immature plants is the minimum statewide guideline

Here's a link to California's Local Guidelines California medical marijuana guidelines provided by Safe Access Now

CAREGIVERS: Yes. Primary caregiver is the individual, designated by a qualified patient or by a person with an identification card, who has consistently assumed responsibility for the housing, health, or safety of that patient or person. The caregiver must be 18 years of age or older (unless the primary caregiver is the parent of a minor child who is a qualified patient or a person with an identification card). Cal. Health & Saf. Code, §11362.7 (2003).

PATIENT REGISTRATION FEE: $66 non Medi-Cal / $33 Medi-Cal, plus additional county fees (varies by location)

• Registration is voluntary

Further information and Becoming a Patient in California

The People v Kelly Supreme Court Affirmed

CA Second District Court of Appeals Ruling Kelly Case

Source: NORML
 
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Julie Gardener

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California Marijuana Penalties​

Possession

♦ 28.5 g or less - infraction Incarceration none Fine $100

♦ More than 28.5 g - misdemeanor Incarceration 6 mths. Fine $500

♦ 28.5 or less on school grounds by a minor while school is in session - misdemeanor Incarceration 10 Days Fine $250

♦ More than 28.5 g on school grounds while school open - misdemeanor Incarceration 6 months Fine $50


Cultivation

Any amount (exception for patients or caregivers) - felony Incarceraction 16 - 36 months Fine none


Sale

♦ Gift of less than 28.5 g - misdemeanor Incarceration none Fine $100

♦ Any amount - felony Incarceration 2 - 4 years Fine none

♦ Any amount to a minor over 14 years old - felony Incarceration 3 - 5 years Fine none

♦ Any amount to a minor under 14 years old (includes offering, inducing, distributing, or employing) - felony Incarceration 3 - 7 years Fine none


Miscellaneous (paraphernalia, license suspensions, drug tax stamps, etc...)

♦ Any conviction of minor under 21 causes driver's license suspension for 1 year.


Details

Possession of 28.5 grams or less of marijuana is now a civil infraction; no longer an arrestable offense. The offender is subject to a civil fine of $100. Possession of greater than 28.5 grams is punishable by up to six
months in jail and a fine of up to $500.

Possession of 28.5 grams or less of marijuana on school grounds when the school is in session is punishable by up to 10 days in jail and a $250 fine. Possession of greater than 28.5 grams or more of marijuana in a school zone is punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $500.

The cultivation or processing of any amount of marijuana is punishable by up to sixteen months in state prison. There is an exception to the cultivation prohibition for patients or patients' caregivers who possess or cultivate
for personal use by the patient upon approval of a physician.

The laws regarding possession and cultivation of marijuana do not apply to patients or patients' primary caregivers who possess or cultivate marijuana for the personal medical use of the patient, upon the recommendation or approval of a physician.

Selling marijuana in any amount is punishable by 2 - 4 years in the state prison. Giving away less than 28.5 grams is a misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine of up to $100.

Sale of marijuana to a minor is punishable by 3 - 5 years in prison.

For anyone under the age of 21 convicted of any of the above offenses, the state may suspend the offender’s driver’s license for up to one year.
Possession of paraphernalia is a civil fine of $200-$300 for the first offense and goes up to $5,000-$6,000 for a fifth or subsequent violation within a five-year period.

A breakdown of CA county and local medical marijuana guidelines is available here: Local Medical Marijuana Guidelines.

Decriminalization: The state has decriminalized marijuana to some degree. Typically, decriminalization means no prison time or criminal record for first-time possession of a small amount for personal consumption. The conduct is treated like a minor traffic violation.

Medical marijuana: This state has medical marijuana laws enacted. Modern research suggests that cannabis is a valuable aid in the treatment of a wide range of clinical applications. These include pain relief, nausea, spasticity, glaucoma, and movement disorders. Marijuana is also a powerful appetite stimulant and emerging research suggests that marijuana's medicinal properties may protect the body against some types of malignant tumors, and are neuroprotective.

Hemp: This state has an active hemp industry or has authorized research. Hemp is a distinct variety of the plant species cannabis sativa L. that contains minimal (less than 1%) amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Various parts of the plant can be utilized in the making of textiles, paper, paints, clothing, plastics, cosmetics, foodstuffs, insulation, animal feed, and other products.

Warning: The information contained in this report is for informational purposes only. Individuals are encouraged to confirm their state's laws before engaging in any particular behavior, or before going to court without a lawyer. Marijuana laws and penalties change rapidly and are enforced and interpreted differently even in the same legal jurisdiction. Please consult a criminal defense lawyer if you have been busted or if you want to know how a particular conduct might be punished. If you spot an error or have information that should be included please let us know.

Source: NORML Web Site

Be informed, be well and let's change these state fines and penalties as they are unfair to everyone.


:Namaste:
 
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Tomjo

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California was the first of the United States to make legal provisions medical marijuana. 1996 was the becoming year that medical marijuana and cultivation of a medical marijuana card became legal in the state of California. The measure made it through the Alaskan state legislative body by a fifty-six percent approval margin. The possession max in the state of California is 8 ounces usable, eighteen plants (6 mature, 12 immature). It's not been ,as of today put into law that California will recognize the jurisdiction of any other state's medical marijuana cards. So as of August 2010 that is not accepted.
 

JJ Bones

Nug of the Month: Feb 2013
Not many folks realize it's 6 mature OR 12 immature, not AND.

I'm curious on the portion about a doctor recommending more than the state minimum. Let's say you go out of county to get a rec that allows for 99 plants and 6 lbs possession. Then get rolled up in your county which sticks to the minimum guidelines, would you get off or get jailed?
 

Julie Gardener

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