The Compassionate Use Act, also referred to as Proposition 215, allowed for the medical use of marijuana in the state of California. At the same time, possession was decriminalized and treated in much of the same way that traffic tickets are handled. In 2004, Senate Bill 420 was passed establishing a qualified patient card system. The United States’ Controlled Substance Act is the federal classification for substances and its classification of marijuana creates a dichotomy that oftentimes presents a legal challenge. In October 2015, a federal judge ruled that the Justice Department is breaking the law by attempting to shut down legal marijuana dispensaries. There are regulations that must be adhered to in order to qualify for legal protection under the medical marijuana laws and they are as follows:
- Qualified patient. The protections afforded by California’s medical cannabis laws require a person to be a qualified patient or primary caregiver. A qualified patient is someone who has been recommended and approved for the medical use of marijuana. Common approval typically includes the treatment of cancer, anorexia, AIDS, chronic pain, glaucoma, arthritis, migraine headaches, or other ailments for which marijuana is known to provide relief. A written recommendation is typically required.
- Licensed dispensaries. Possessing over 28.5 grams of marijuana is no longer viewed as possession for personal use and is punishable as a crime with possible jail time. Transporting and selling without being a licensed legal dispensary is also punishable by jail time. Filing to become a legal dispensary involves the approval by several departments and can be a complicated and tedious process.
- Licensed physician. When marijuana is prescribed to a patient for a legitimate illness and is documented by the physician, the physician may not be punished or denied the right to prescribe marijuana. The physician is not permitted to prescribe for any nonmedical purpose.
- Primary caregiver. The person who has been designated as the person who assumes responsibility for the patient is exempt from being punished for possession or cultivation of marijuana, since it is prudent that the primary caregiver would participate in the possession and administration, as they would with any other medication.
Seeking the assistance of a legal professional, who is apprised of the current and ever changing California medical marijuana laws is important if you are a patient, a primary caregiver, a physician, or if you are considering opening a dispensary. If you have been charged with a crime in California involving medical marijuana, it is important to have an experienced legal advocate by your side. Schedule an appointment today with Nasseri Legal, one of the top criminal defense attorney’s in San Diego.