Ballot Proposition 215 (45 KB) -- Approved Nov. 5, 1996 by 56% of voters
Effective: Nov. 6, 1996
Removes state-level criminal penalties
On the use, possession and cultivation of marijuana by patients who possess a "written or oral recommendation" from their physician that he or she "would benefit from medical marijuana." Patients diagnosed with any debilitating illness where the medical use of marijuana has been "deemed appropriate and has been recommended by a physician" are afforded legal protection under this act.
Approved Conditions: AIDS, anorexia, arthritis, cachexia, cancer, chronic pain, glaucoma, migraine, persistent muscle spasms, including spasms associated with multiple sclerosis, seizures, including seizures associated with epilepsy, severe nausea; Other chronic or persistent medical symptoms.
Amended: Senate Bill 420 (70 KB)
Effective: Jan. 1, 2004
Imposes statewide guidelines outlining how much medicinal marijuana patients may grow and possess.
Possession/Cultivation: Qualified patients and their primary caregivers may possess no more than eight ounces of dried marijuana and/or six mature (or 12 immature) marijuana plants. However, S.B. 420 allows patients to possess larger amounts of marijuana when recommended by a physician. The legislation also allows counties and municipalities to approve and/or maintain local ordinances permitting patients to possess larger quantities of medicinal pot than allowed under the new state guidelines.
Recreational Marijuana Is Legal for adults in California
Adult Use of Marijuana Act.
Under this law, adults 21 and over may purchase, possess, and consume up to 28.5 grams of marijuana in their private residence or in an establishment licensed for marijuana consumption. While most criminal sanctions for marijuana were lifted immediately after the general election, licensing to legally sell and produce recreational marijuana began in January 2018. There are also new cannabis taxes: a 15% excise and a cultivation tax.
California Department of Public Health
Public Health Policy and Research Branch
Attention: Medical Marijuana Program Unit
P.O. Box 997377
Sacramento, CA 95899-7377
CA Medical Marijuana Program
Guidelines for the Security and Non-diversion of Marijuana Grown for Medical Use(55 KB)
Information provided by the state on sources for medical marijuana:
"The MMP is not authorized to provide information on acquiring marijuana or other related products." "Medical Marijuana Program Frequently Asked Questions," cdph.ca.gov(accessed Apr. 24, 2014)
"The California Department of Public Health administers the Medical Marijuana Identification Card (MMIC) program only and does not have any information regarding dispensaries, growing collectives, etc…" "Dispensaries, Cooperatives and Collectives," cdph.ca.gov(accessed Apr. 24, 2014
Patient Registry Fee:
$66 non Medi-Cal / $33 Medi-Cal, plus additional county fees (varies by location)
Accepts other states' registry ID cards?
The table below outlines California’s main marijuana laws.
Business & Professions Code Sections 26000, et seq.
Health & Safety Code Sections 11000, et seq.; 11357, et seq.; 11362.7, et seq.
- Those 21 and over may possess up to 28.5 grams of cannabis, or up to 8 grams of concentrated cannabis. It's an infraction for those under 21.
- Those 18 and over who possess more than 28.5 grams of cannabis, or more than 8 grams of concentrated cannabis may by imprisoned in county jail for up to 6 months and/or fined up to $500.
- Sale by someone who does not possess a license to sell cannabis is a misdemeanor, which can result in up to 6 months in jail and/or fines up to $500.
- A person who engages in commercial cannabis activity without a license will be subject to civil penalties of up to three times the amount of the license fee for each violation, with each day of operation constituting a separate violation.
There are additional limitations to smoking and possessing marijuana even if a person is over 21. The limitations include (but are not limited to) smoking or ingesting cannabis in public, (except in accordance with § 26200 of the Business & Professions Code), smoking/ingesting while operating a vehicle, and possessing an open container while operating or riding as a passenger in a vehicle.