On November 8, 2016, Californians passed Proposition 64, which legalized the recreational use of marijuana. It did not impact the medicinal use of marijuana, given that the state already led the nation in legalizing it for patients who met certain requirements. If you or someone you love is considering using medicinal marijuana, it is important to understand the law. Continue reading to find out what you need to know about medicinal marijuana.
Laws Regarding Medical Marijuana
The medicinal use of marijuana has been legal in California since 1996, when Proposition 215, also known as the “Compassionate Use Act,” passed. Several years later, in 2003, Senate Bill 420 fleshed out California law a bit more, creating a system of optional medical marijuana ID cards, establishing certain quantities of plants and dried marijuana as presumptively legal, establishing guidelines for collective and cooperative cultivation, and affirming the rights of local governments to regulate dispensaries.
Most recently, in 2015, a complex licensing system for commercial production and sales was created. Additionally, the passing of the California Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA) imbued the Department of Consumer Affairs, the Department of Food and Agriculture, and the State Department of Public Health with the authority to regulate all aspects of the medical marijuana industry.
Generally, these rules tend not to impact patients who cultivate for personal use, as long as they limit the growing area to 100 square feet.
City and County Laws
Cities and counties might have their own unique ordinances, choosing to prohibit or regulate dispensaries and the cultivation of marijuana. The city of Santa Rosa adopted the aforementioned medical marijuana laws, permitting cultivation, dispensaries, and the manufacturing, testing, distribution, and transportation of medical marijuana.
As previously stated, marijuana use, possession, and distribution are illegal under federal law, with no exception for medical use of the drug. State law cannot override federal law, but federal prosecutors consider whether or not the marijuana case took place in a state with an effective regulatory and enforcement system. Therefore, law-abiding patients and distributors in states where marijuana is legal will be ignored by the federal government.
How Do Patients Get Medical Marijuana Recommendations
Marijuana is not prescribed by doctors, but rather recommended for certain conditions. These conditions include:
- Chronic Pain
It can also be recommended for other conditions if a doctor believes symptoms might be relieved by its usage.
Your usual doctor will likely not be the one to make this recommendation for you. Instead, a doctor who specializes in evaluating patients for the medical use of marijuana will examine you and determine if it is appropriate. However, federal law prevents doctors from prescribing Schedule I drugs, which includes marijuana. To work around this, doctors are able to recommend the drug for certain conditions, as mentioned above.
What is a Medical Marijuana ID Card?
Patients do not have to get a Medical Marijuana ID card in Santa Rosa to use marijuana legally, though it can be useful. For example, if you are stopped by law enforcement with the allowable amount of marijuana, the ID card will prevent the officer from arresting you. Some patients might choose to display the doctor’s recommendation, but having the ID card is considered more acceptable and certainly easier to carry.
If you are interested in obtaining an ID card, they are issued by county Departments of Public Health, for which the fee is about $166 annually.
Seizure of Marijuana
If law enforcement officers confiscate your marijuana during an investigation, regardless if they arrest you or not, you are entitled to have it returned to you. Sometimes this requires more than a simple request, unfortunately. You will have to file a motion for the return of your property if the police do not return the marijuana to you upon request.
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If you have been charged with a drug crime, it is crucial to speak with a drug crime lawyer as soon as possible. At the Law Offices of Evan E. Zelig, we can walk you through possible defenses and educate you on all of your rights. For the hands-on, aggressive legal advocacy you deserve, contact a team who truly cares about your future and well-being. We have handled hundreds of drug offenses and drug-related crimes.
Now that individuals age 21 and over are able to legally possess, use, and cultivate marijuana, users of the drug are under fewer restrictions. Additionally, if you have been convicted of marijuana-related crimes in the past, you might now be eligible for a reduction or expungement. This applies to crimes involving the possession of marijuana or concentrates, cultivation of marijuana, possession of marijuana for sale, and transportation of marijuana for sale and unlawful gifting.
Many older felonies might now be reduced to misdemeanors, restoring civil liberties such as gun rights, the right to vote, and the ability to hold state licenses. These expungements are not automatic, however, and might be denied by a judge. That is why you must retain the services of an effective attorney to maximize your chances of obtaining the best possible result for your case. Having successfully represented thousands of accused clients, our team can provide the powerful support you need.
Contact us today at (707) 418-5352 to schedule a free case evaluation.
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