A Patient’s Guide to California Medical Marijuana (Sponsored Post)


Medical marijuana is taking effect all over the country. California has passed Prop. 215 which allows the use of medical marijuana, and we guide patients through their rights and requirements by law.

In 1996, voters in California approved an initiative (Prop. 215) that allowed patients and primary caregivers to possess and cultivate marijuana legally. In 2003, Prop. 215 was expanded to cover transportation, other offenses and certain circumstances. If you’re a new patient and resident of the Golden State, you should understand California medical marijuana laws before you make your first visit to the dispensary.

What Offenses are Covered Under Prop. 215?

Prop. 215 allows patients and primary caregivers to possess and cultivate medical marijuana. Patients are also free to form medical cultivation cooperatives or collectives. Any medical marijuana plants that are cultivated must be used for personal medical use.

This initiative covers more than just cannabis plants. Concentrated cannabis, hashish and edibles are also included.

Transportation is allowed by courts as well. Provided there is a bona fide caregiver or collective relationship, protection is provided against:

  • Possession for sale charges
  • Sale, giving away, transportation, furnishing
  • Leasing or providing a space for distribution

To put it simply, Prop. 215 protects medical marijuana patients from charges of possession, sale and distribution in the above circumstances.

What Illnesses are Covered, and Who Qualifies as a Physician?

Physicians, surgeons and osteopaths who are licensed to practice in the state of California qualify as physicians under Prop. 215. Herbal therapists, chiropractors and other similar professionals do not qualify. Qualifying physicians must state that they “recommend” or “approve” medical marijuana use for the patient’s illness. Doctors must also provide some other service to patients aside from marijuana recommendations.

Under Prop. 215, the following illnesses are covered:

  • Chronic pain
  • Cancer
  • Anorexia
  • Glaucoma
  • AIDS
  • Spasticity
  • Arthritis
  • Migraines

Medical marijuana may also be used for other illnesses and health issues, including PMS, depression, PTSD, substance abuse and insomnia.

Where Can Medical Marijuana Be Obtained?

Technically, Prop. 215 does not legalize sales, but there are hundreds of California dispensaries and collectives that provide patients with medical marijuana.

Is a State I.D. Card Required?

Patients do not have to obtain a state I.D. card to be protected under Prop. 215. That being said, an I.D. card would provide an extra layer of protection against arrests. Both caregivers and patients can obtain an I.D. card through their local health departments.

Many patients are apprehensive about obtaining an I.D. card, but there are measures in place that protect patient privacy. Patients can’t be tracked down by police or employers through the registry.

If you’re a new patient in California, your local dispensary can answer any other questions that you might have about medical marijuana laws.

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