California (CA) Medical Marijuana Laws

Proposition 215, passed in 1996, was the nation’s first medical marijuana law (California Bureau of Medical Cannabis). Eligible patients must present a “written or oral recommendation” from their physician. Guidelines passed in 2003 set limits for possession and cultivation of marijuana by eligible patients and their caregivers. Although the state issues medical marijuana identification cards, registration is not mandatory for compliance.

  • Illnesses: arthritis; cachexia; cancer; chronic pain; HIV/AIDS; epilepsy; migraine; multiple sclerosis (physicians may recommend medical marijuana for other illnesses)
  • Possession: 8 ounces of usable marijuana (or more, if a doctor recommends it)
  • Cultivation: Six mature or 12 immature marijuana plants (some counties allow a grow space of up to 100 square feet)
  • Dispensaries: State-licensed dispensaries must not be within 600 feet of a school and cannot operate for a profit but otherwise are regulated at the local level
  • Statute: Health and Safety Code § 11362.5