The medical use of marijuana is covered by the Compassionate Use Act of 1996. It is found in section 11362.5 of the California Penal Code.

Why was the medical use of marijuana de-criminalized?

Californians have a right to receive the medical benefits of marijuana for conditions and illnesses such as cancer, anorexia, AIDS, chronic pain, spasticity, glaucoma, arthritis, and migraine, seizures, severe nausea.

Who and what acts are exempt from criminal prosecution?

  • Patients and their primary caregivers who obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes, upon the recommendation of a physician will not be criminally prosecuted.
  • Patients and primary caregivers who possess or cultivate marijuana for the personal medical purposes of the patients upon recommendation or approval of a physician shall not be prosecuted.
  • Cultivation and possession of marijuana plants as well as administering in controlled clinical trials for objective scientific research in the University of California, regarding the efficacy and safety or administering cannabis as part of medical treatment is specifically allowed.

How can a person avail of marijuana for medicinal purposes?

  1. A person must have diagnosis or certification from a physician that they suffer from the illnesses listed under the law as serious medical conditions.
    1. The physician must be licensed.
    2. The physician must be in good standing to practice medicine, podiatry or osteopathy.
    3. Their license must be issued by the Medical board of California, California Board of Podiatric Medicine or the Osteopathic Medical Board of California.
    4. They must certify that the medical use of cannabis is appropriate.
  2. A person must have a prescription for medical marijuana and an identification card.
    1. The prescription is part of the patient’s medical records
    2. The local law enforcement is allowed immediate access to this information to verify the validity of an identification card.
    3. The patient’s record must also include a recommendation for the use of medical marijuana.
  3. The person must have been duly issued an identification card to certify that they qualify to purchase and use marijuana for medical purposes.
    1. They must be able to prove their identity and residency in the county.
    2. They must provide the written documentation from their attending physician.
    3. They must provide the name, office address, telephone number and California medical license number of their attending physician.
    4. They must provide the name and duties of their primary caregiver.
    5. The identification is valid for one year from the date of the issuance and may be renewed annually.
    6. It must contain the photo of the cardholder.

What are the restrictions on the medical use of marijuana?

  1. The qualified patient or caregiver cannot possess more than eight ounces of dried cannabis per qualified patient.
  2. They cannot possess, cultivate or distribute medical cannabis within a 600-foot radius of a school.
  3. They cannot use an identification card falsely or fraudulently.
  4. Medical marijuana cannot be used by employees in the premises of a jail, correctional facility or penal institution where prisoners reside or are detained. But inmates or prisoners who have an identification card to sue cannabis for medicinal purposes may be allowed to use it provided it will not endanger the health or safety of other prisoners.
  5. Medical marijuana cannot be ingested or smoked on a school bus.

What criminal acts can be committed under the medical use of marijuana act?

  1. Fraudulently representing a medical condition or providing material misinformation to a physician or county health department to obtain an identification card.
  2. Fraudulently using an identification card to acquire, possess, cultivate, transport, use, produce or distribute cannabis.
  3. Counterfeiting, tampering with or fraudulently producing an identification card.
  4. Breaching the confidentiality requirements pertaining to the issuance of identification cards.

Are you a licensed physician, caregiver or patient who is facing criminal charges relating to the medical use of marijuana? Do you need legal advice, legal opinion or legal representation and assistance? Call and speak with any of the criminal defense attorneys from Ramiro J. Lluis Law Office. They can help.