California Proposition 215

Compassionate Use Act of 1996

Proposition 215, or the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, is a California law concerning the use of medical cannabis. It was enacted, on November 5, 1996, by means of the initiative process, and passed with a 55.6% vote in favor. California Proposition 215 was the first medical marijuana ballot initiative passed at the state level.

“Federal authorities should rescind their prohibition of the medical use of marijuana for seriously ill patients and allow physicians to decide which patients to treat. The government should change marijuana’s status from that of a Schedule I drug … to that of a Schedule II drug … and regulate it accordingly.” – The New England Journal of Medicine, January 30, 1997

Possession & Cultivation

Proposition 215 allows patients with a valid doctor’s recommendation, and the patient’s designated Primary Caregivers, to possess and cultivate marijuana for personal medical use, and has since been expanded to protect a growing system of collective and cooperative distribution. The Act added Section 11362.5 to the California Health and Safety Code, which:

Exempts patients and defined caregivers who possess or cultivate marijuana recommended by a physician from criminal laws which otherwise prohibit possession or cultivation of marijuana.
Provides physicians who recommend use of marijuana for medical treatment shall not be punished or denied any right or privilege.

According to the California Department of Justice, qualified patients and caregivers may possess 8 ounces of dried marijuana, as long as they possess a state-issued identification card. In addition, they may only maintain 6 mature or 12 immature marijuana plants. The report also says that local governments may allow patients or caregivers to exceed these base levels.

Restrictions

In addition, marijuana smoking is also restricted by location. It may not be smoked wherever smoking is prohibited by law, within 1000 feet of a school, recreation center, or youth center, on a school bus, or in a moving vehicle or boat. Marijuana use is not to be accommodated in the workplace or in any type of correctional facilities. It is important to note that under the Fair Employment and Housing Act, an employer may terminate an employee who tests positive for marijuana use.

For additional information, please see the Wikipedia entry for California Proposition 215. The text above is adapted under Wikipedia’s Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.