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State Law

California State Medical Marijuana Program

The Medical Marijuana Program (MMP) was established to provide a voluntary medical marijuana identification card issuance and registry program for qualified patients and their caregivers.  The web-based registry system allows law enforcement and the public to verify the validity of qualified patient or caregiver's card as authorization to possess, grow, transport and/or use Medical Marijuana in California.  To facilitate the verification of authorized cardholders, the verification database is available on the internet at www.calmmp.ca.gov.

In 2003, Senate Bill (SB) 420 (Chapter 875, Statutes of 2003) was passed as an extension and clarification of Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act of 1996.  The Medical Marijuana Program, within CDPH, is administered through a patient's county of residence.  Upon obtaining a recommendation from their physician for use of medicinal marijuana, patients and their primary caregivers may apply for and be issued, a Medical Marijuana Identification Card.  Senate Bill 420 also required that the MMP be fully supported through the card application processing fees.  Both the state and the counties have authority to cover their costs for the program through these application fees.

Attorney General Guidelines

In 1996, California voters approved an initiative that exempted certain patients and their 
primary caregivers from criminal liability under state law for the possession and cultivation of 
marijuana.  In 2003, the Legislature enacted additional legislation relating to medical marijuana.  
One of those statutes requires the Attorney General to adopt “guidelines to ensure the security and 
nondiversion of marijuana grown for medical use.”  (Health & Saf. Code, § 11362.81(d).

1)  To fulfill this mandate, this Office is issuing the following guidelines to 
(1) ensure that marijuana  grown for medical purposes remains secure and does not find its way to non-patients or illicit markets, 
(2) help law enforcement agencies perform their duties effectively and in accordance  with California law, and 
(3) help patients and primary caregivers understand how they may  cultivate, transport, possess, and use medical marijuana under California law.   
SECTION 1. Section 11362.5 is added to the Health and Safety Code, to read:
 
11362.5. (a) This section shall be known and may be cited as the Compassionate Use Act of 1996. 
   (b)(1) The people of the State of California hereby find and declare that the purposes of the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 are as follows: 
   (A) To ensure that seriously ill Californians have the right to obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes where that medical use is deemed appropriate and has been recommended by a physician who has determined that the person's health would benefit from the use of marijuana in the treatment of cancer, anorexia, AIDS, chronic pain, spasticity, glaucoma, arthritis, migraine, or any other illness for which marijuana provides relief. 
   (B) To ensure that patients and their primary caregivers who obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes upon the recommendation of a physician are not subject to criminal prosecution or sanction. 
   (C) To encourage the federal and state governments to implement a plan to provide for the safe and affordable distribution of marijuana to all patients in medical need of marijuana. 
   (2) Nothing in this section shall be construed to supersede legislation prohibiting persons from engaging in conduct that endangers others, nor to condone the diversion of marijuana for nonmedical purposes. 
   (c) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no physician in this state shall be punished, or denied any right or privilege, for having recommended marijuana to a patient for medical purposes. 
   (d) Section 11357, relating to the possession of marijuana, and Section 11358, relating to the cultivation of marijuana, shall not apply to a patient, or to a patient's primary caregiver, who possesses or cultivates marijuana for the personal medical purposes of the patient upon the written or oral recommendation or approval of a physician. 
   (e) For the purposes of this section, ''primary caregiver" means the individual designated by the person exempted under this section who has consistently assumed responsibility for the housing, health, or safety of that person.

SEC. 2. If any provision of this measure or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, that invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of the measure that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this measure are severable.
California Senate Bill 420 (colloquially known as the Medical Marijuana Program Act) was a bill introduced by John Vasconcellos of the California State Senate, and subsequently passed by the California State Legislature and signed by Governor Gray Davis in 2003 "pursuant to the powers reserved to the State of California and its people under the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution." It clarified the scope and application of California Proposition 215, also known as the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, and established the California medical marijuana program.

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