January 5, 2021

With the constantly evolving legal status of cannabis, the rules regulating medical marijuana can easily become complicated for patients and/or their caregivers. With cannabis becoming decriminalized in California, many continue to purchase cannabis strictly for medicinal use. What is medical marijuana, and who can legally have access to it?

In order to legally obtain medical marijuana, a patient/customer requires a current recommendation from a qualified physician or a county-issued medical marijuana ID card. A medical marijuana ID card is voluntary.

Qualified Physician
Medical marijuana became decriminalized in California in 1996, under Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act, codified at California Health and Safety Code section 11362.5. Proposition 215 applies to physicians licensed in the State of California, and does not apply to any chiropractors or herbal therapists. These qualified physicians are protected from any federal prosecution for writing prescriptions for medical marijuana. [Conant v. Walters (9th Cir. 2002) 309 F. 3d 629.]

Covered Illnesses
While physicians may write prescriptions for medical marijuana for a number of medical reasons, the illnesses referenced in Proposition 215 include: cancer, anorexia, AIDS, chronic pain, spasticity, glaucoma, arthritis, and migraines. Physicians also often recommend medical marijuana for insomnia, PMS, PTSD, and depression.

Medical Marijuana Card
With recreational consumption of cannabis no longer criminalized under California law, what benefits are there to obtaining a medical marijuana card? To obtain recreational cannabis, an adult must be 21 or older. For those aged 18 to 20 with a chronic medical condition, a medical marijuana card will allow access to medical marijuana at the age of 18, to help with recognized medical illnesses.

Additionally, those who purchase marijuana with a medical marijuana card are exempt from sales taxes.

Need more information?
ESKRIDGE LAW may be contacted by phone (310/303-3951), by fax (310/303-3952) or by email (geskridge@eskridgelaw.net). Please visit our website at eskridge.hv-dev.com.

This article is based on the law as of the date posted at the top of the article. This article does not constitute the provision of legal advice, and does not by itself create an attorney-client relationship with Eskridge Law.