A Definitive Guide to Medical Marijuana Laws in California

Medical marijuana is creating a revolution all across the world. The word has spread far and wide about the multifarious ways in which marijuana proves to be a medical aid. But, with its ever-rising popularity in the healthcare and medicine sector, it has become crucial to regulate and supervise the use of this green herb with properly laid out medical marijuana laws.
Ever since the legalization of medical marijuana in 1996, the state of California developed its own Medical Marijuana Program that forms the basis of all the MMJ laws in the state. If you are getting an MMJ card in CA, it’s imperative for you to be acquainted with all the marijuana laws that are followed in the state. Here is a detailed insight into the legal framework surrounding medical marijuana.

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What is Medical Marijuana?

Medical marijuana is defined as the use of the marijuana plant and its derivatives to treat mild to severe medical conditions. Unlike recreational marijuana, the purpose of using medical marijuana is purely medical with no intention of leisure or recreation.
A marijuana plant is a storehouse of chemicals such as cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids that work together to deliver a wide array of therapeutic benefits. The green herb can prove to be anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective and even help with chronic pain and lack of sleep with its pain-relieving and sedative properties. Realizing the immense potential of marijuana, several doctors and medical clinics recommend using marijuana for the treatment of diseases and ailments ranging from cancer and PTSD to anxiety and anorexia.
When patients use marijuana along with their regular medication or as the only treatment for their medical condition, it is called medical marijuana.

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Why do States Need Laws for Medical Marijuana?

Here’s a brief introduction about why states need laws for medical marijuana.
The history of marijuana is the reason why the image of the plant wasn’t a respectable one for a long time. Even today, the stigma lingers among the population. This legal turmoil of the past led to several laws and regulations that make it difficult to completely legalize marijuana today. This is why there need to be clear laws for the people to go along with the past as well as the progressive times.
In addition to this, despite the recognized medical potential of marijuana, its possibility to be abused by patients and the general public is not a secret. The research on marijuana is also not as extensive as it should be. So, for the sake of public safety, medical marijuana laws are created by the government to avoid the misuse of marijuana as much as possible.
Whether it is recreational or medical marijuana, there needs to be some law and order to look into the way it is handled by the people. For this reason, in the state of California, marijuana laws are regulated by four main agencies:

  • ✔ Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC)
  • ✔ California Department of Food and Agriculture
  • ✔ California Department of Public Health
  • ✔ Marijuana Regulatory Authorities of the State

In addition to this, several state authorities such as the state and local prosecutor, city councils etc. also play a part in regulating the way marijuana is sold and used by the general population.

What is the History of Medical Marijuana Laws?

Medical marijuana has a very complex and ever-changing history with legalities. Marijuana has been in use in the United States since the time of early colonists. The primary use was for industrial hemp for textile purposes. However, by the 20th century, marijuana found itself amidst the rocky waters of politics and racism leading to its criminalization. It started in 1911 with Governor Eugene Foss of Massachusetts signing the law to prohibit marijuana in the United States.
The situation escalated to people being incarcerated for the possession of marijuana. One such example is the Crime Bill of 1994 that imprisoned several citizens for non-violent crimes such as possessing marijuana.
But, despite the stringent marijuana laws prohibiting the buying, selling and cultivation of marijuana, the green herb continued to become popular among the masses. Its medical potential shined through and reached a point where the politicians started recognizing its medical properties. Going along with the progressive times, California became the first state to pass marijuana laws and legalize medical marijuana in 1996 with Proposition 215 or the Compassionate Use Act.
At present, the UN has already removed marijuana from the Schedule IV category. All that’s left is for the same to happen at the federal level. With the change of power in the White House, the MORE Act waits its fate at the Senate. If passed, it will be a revolutionary step for marijuana as it will be descheduled from the Controlled Substance Act.

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Is Medical Marijuana Legalized in California According to Law?

Yes, medical marijuana is legalized in California according to law. After a public ballot, Proposition 215, also called the Compassionate Use Act, was passed in 1996 that allowed for the legal use of marijuana for the treatment of several medical conditions such as migraine, anorexia, glaucoma and AIDS.
The proposition was the first ballot initiated towards the legalization of medical marijuana at the state level. Not only does it allow patients to access medical marijuana without any legal issues but the proposition also curbed the issue of penalties for possessing and growing marijuana. With the passing of the Act, the patients and caregivers in the state were given the legal freedom to possess and cultivate marijuana for medical purposes.
Proposition 215 was finally sealed in the legal books with Senate Bill 420 that implemented the proposition in 2003.
In 2016, the California voters also passed Proposition 64 or the Adult Use of Marijuana Act. It laid down the premises of sales and cultivation taxes and set the legal age limit for sale, growing, possession and consumption of adult-use marijuana to 21 years and older.
Moving forward, the state saw the development of the Medical and Adult Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act or MAUCRSA in 2017 that became responsible for forming the licensing requirements and laying down all the crucial medical marijuana rules for the public.
So, in short, a medical patient has the freedom and legal right to use marijuana in the state of California.

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What Medical Marijuana Laws Are Followed in California Today?

The following medical marijuana laws are followed in California today:

  • ✔ Patients must have a legit MMJ recommendation to access medical marijuana.
  • ✔ Qualification for MMJ cards should be according to the qualifying conditions of MMICP.
  • ✔ Legal possession of up to 8 ounces of marijuana.
  • ✔ Patients and caregivers can grow marijuana at home.
  • ✔ Tax exemptions for MMJ patients.
  • ✔ Patients must be 18 years or older.

Over the years, medical marijuana laws have seen a lot of twists and turns. From getting arrested for possession of marijuana to now legalizing medical as well as recreational consumption, marijuana has come a long way. If you are a medical marijuana consumer or are considering being one, you don’t need to be acquainted with every act and law passed by the State government of California. All you need to do is be informed about the basic marijuana laws that are implemented in California as of today.

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What is a Medical Marijuana Use Registry?

A medical marijuana use registry is an online database that keeps the record for all the state-certified physicians authorized to provide marijuana recommendations and the patients qualified for using medical marijuana in the state. It is a safe, secure and convenient database of all marijuana consumers and physicians.
The California Department of Public Health is one of the many agencies responsible for creating and regulating medical marijuana in the state. For the sake of maintaining control and order, the department created the Medical Marijuana Identification Card Program or MMICP. It is a step towards having a registry with a record of all the verified patients and even primary caregivers.
The program established the requirement of an ID card that is state-authorized. A medical patient can apply for an ID card on their own from online or walk-in clinics.
Online Medical Card is one of the many clinics in California that offers state-authorized ID cards to patients at affordable prices. All you need to do is register, fill the form and complete a consultation with one of our doctors. If you qualify, you will receive your medical card in your email on the same day.

What Are The Qualifying Conditions for Medical Marijuana in California Laws?

To get a state-authorized medical card in California, you must be of legal age and qualify according to the requirements set by California’s Health and Safety Code. The following are the Qualifying Conditions for Medical Marijuana in California Laws.

  • ✔ Cancer
  • ✔ Cachexia
  • ✔ Chronic Pain
  • ✔ Glaucoma
  • ✔ Migraine
  • ✔ HIV/AIDS
  • ✔ Anorexia
  • ✔ Arthritis
  • ✔ Severe Nausea
  • ✔ Muscle Spasms
  • ✔ Seizures

If you are suffering from the conditions mentioned in the list, you qualify for an MMJ card according to the law. If not, You still qualify for a medical card if you fit one of the following situations:

  • ✔ Your condition or symptom limits your ability to perform day-to-day major activities such as walking, sleeping, eating etc. (American With Disabilities Act of 1990). If you need assistance or medication to complete your daily tasks, the marijuana laws consider you eligible for a medical card.
  • ✔ Your condition or symptom puts your mental and physical safety at risk, if not alleviated on time.
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Who Can Buy and Use Marijuana According to CA MMJ Laws?

All medical marijuana patients with an MMJ recommendation from a practicing and licensed doctor have the legal freedom to buy and use marijuana according to CA MMJ laws. Proposition 215 is responsible for the buying and consumption rights of medical patients in California.
Since marijuana is legal in California, medical patients of any age can legally use marijuana as long as they qualify the conditions laid by the California marijuana laws and get an MMJ recommendation from a certified doctor. Generally, the legal age limit is 18 years for MMJ patients. However, those under the age of 18 years can also apply for a medical card and get marijuana treatment. The only limitation is that they must have a legal caregiver who is 21 years or older. He or she will be responsible for getting the daily doses for the patient and supervising the consumption for the underage medical patient.

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How to Buy Marijuana in California According to Law?

You can buy marijuana in California according to law by visiting a state-registered dispensary near you or ordering from a licensed online store. Make sure that the seller is verified and has the license to sell marijuana products in your area.
The medical marijuana laws in California ask all dispensaries and online stores to be registered with the state government at the Bureau of Cannabis Control. The registration is a means to ensure public safety. The state looks in detail at all the aspects of the seller. From quality standards, testing and lab reports, and growing conditions of marijuana, the state government keeps a tab on everything and ensures that only a safe product is delivered to the consumer. The BCC requires all harvested marijuana for medical or recreational use to be tested for the following:

  • ✔ Cannabinoids
  • ✔ Residual pesticides
  • ✔ Residual solvents
  • ✔ Microbial impurities
  • ✔ Foreign materials
  • ✔ Terpenes
  • ✔ Mycotoxins
  • ✔ Moisture
  • ✔ Heavy metals

There are more than 1000 different registered medical dispensaries all across California. With such abundance, you can easily acquire legal and quality marijuana around you. You can also legally get marijuana delivered to your doorstep. The BCC passed the rule to allow marijuana deliveries statewide in 2019.
Since the state government allows the legal sale of marijuana products, you should steer clear of all the illegal sellers (not registered with the government). If caught, you may end up in legal trouble.

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Here’s how medical marijuana laws of California benefit those with a medical card:

  • ✔ Higher possession limits.
  • ✔ Lower age limit for medical consumers.
  • ✔ Peace of mind with more legal security.
  • ✔ No potency limits.
  • ✔ Tax exemptions on marijuana purchases.
  • ✔ Easier travels while in possession of marijuana.
  • ✔ Increased access to medical marijuana across the state.
  • ✔ No legal restrictions for growing marijuana.

If we compare the law restrictions for recreational marijuana, the medical marijuana laws in California offer several privileges for a patient with a medical card.
The possession limit for MMJ patients is 8 times higher than adult-use marijuana which prevents regular trips to the dispensary for restocks. As a form of financial relief, medical card owners do not pay the extra costs of sales and use tax. And they can even ask for special discounts in registered dispensaries. The government also allows medical patients to have easier access to a wide range of marijuana products with low as well as high potencies unlike adult-use marijuana that has a potency limit for consumers. If you wish to experience these benefits offered by the medical marijuana laws CA, all you need to do is get a medical card and put it to use.

You can apply for a California Medical Marijuana Card by Law using the telemedicine platform of Online Medical Card. Register on the website and follow the following steps:

  • ✔ Fill the prequalification form.
  • ✔ Consult a licensed doctor via online video call.
  • ✔ Receive your card via email (if you qualify.)

While it’s easy to get online consultation for a medical card, if you want to go along the requirements of the California marijuana laws, you must ensure that your card provider is legit. Look for the following elements to identify the legitimacy of your online clinic or doctor:

  • ✔ Your doctor should have a verified license.
  • ✔ The online clinic should have a real, physical location with established history.
  • ✔ Make sure you are consulting with a real doctor.
  • ✔ The online clinic and doctor should have a verified address (no P.O. Box).

Online medical card checks all the boxes for you. With HIPAA compliant online platform and 100% money back guarantee, you can get a legit medical card that abides by all the marijuana law requirements of California.

Yes, you can be penalized for using medical marijuana by law for the following:

  • ✔ Possessing more marijuana than the limit.
  • ✔ Growing medical marijuana for commercial uses.
  • ✔ Using marijuana in a public place or a ‘no smoking’ area.
  • ✔ Driving under the influence of marijuana.
  • ✔ Traveling interstate with marijuana.
  • ✔ Buying from illegal sellers.

The penalization is very rare but the possibility isn’t zero. If you do not follow the marijuana laws laid by the California government, you can find yourself in some trouble. It may sound confusing for many considering that both medical and recreational marijuana is legal in CA but even with the legalization, it is crucial to go by the laws of the state and the federal government.

Yes, California marijuana laws allow traveling with medical marijuana. However, the travel aspect is easier only within the state boundaries. Due to marijuana’s illegal status at the federal level, interstate travel still carries some level of risk for a medical marijuana patient.

California State Laws vs Federal Laws

The state of California legalized medical marijuana with Proposition 215 in 1996. By 2016, the state had passed the law for legal adult-use of marijuana too. With the laws in place, it is easier for people within the California state boundaries to access, use and grow marijuana. However, the federal government does not see eye to eye. Though there is the MORE Act that will decide whether marijuana will be decriminalized federally or not, but until the act is passed, marijuana continues to be a Schedule 1 Drug under the Controlled Substance Act.
This means that being in possession of marijuana when the plane takes off or on interstate boundaries is technically a federal offense.

How to travel according to the California marijuana laws ?

If you are in possession of the green herb, you can still travel according to the California marijuana laws by ensuring a few simple points.

  • ✔ Carry only a small amount of marijuana.
  • ✔ Keep your marijuana in a properly sealed child proof bag.
  • ✔ Carry your doctor’s recommendation with you.
  • ✔ Keep marijuana far away from your reach if you are traveling.
  • ✔ Connect with the airlines a few hours before your flight.

Since a larger population of the US is pro-marijuana, arrest for traveling with medical marijuana is very unlikely. However, as long as you follow the points mentioned above, you’ll steer clear from any possibility of a legal penalty.

What Are Medical Marijuana Growing Laws in California?

The medical marijuana growing laws in California allows a medical patient to grow marijuana at home legally. A patient can have 6 mature and 6 immature plants at home. The limit can also be increased to up to 99 plants but you must get the consent of the doctor for the same.
California’s adult-use marijuana laws also give recreational consumers the legal right to grow marijuana at home. However, the laws render privilege to the medical consumers by giving them the right to get a licence for growing 99 plants at home. To get the same, you need to consult with your medical professional. If he or she thinks that your medical condition needs a higher number of plants (even 99), they will give you the licence to have more plants at home. Doctor’s consultation is important as it keeps you from breaking the legal limits of marijuana cultivation at home.
Adding to the provision of homegrown marijuana, California marijuana laws prohibit using marijuana for commercial purposes. It is meant for your personal use only.

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Do California Marijuana Laws Allow a Medical Card From a Different State?

Yes, California marijuana laws allow a medical card from a different state. CA is one of the few states in the US that follow medical marijuana reciprocity. So, you can legally use a medical card of a different state in California.
Medical marijuana reciprocity is one of the many provisions in the CA medical marijuana program. It allows for the use of out-of-state medical marijuana cards without legal issues.
However, the state-sanctioned dispensaries have the final say on whether or not they will allow a patient with an MMJ card of a different state to make a purchase.

What Are The Laws for Using Medical Marijuana in a Workplace?

The California laws for using medical marijuana in a workplace is not in favor of the patients yet. For the sake of safety of employees, the policies of every workplace asks for an employee to pass the drug test or not use marijuana in the office space.
Marijuana is psychoactive and can lead to risky situations that may put the safety of everyone at risk. As a result, workplace marijuana laws are against marijuana use. This also means that an employer has the right to reject an applicant if the drug test comes positive. Though there are many bills such as the ‘’AB 2355’’ that ask for the amendment of the Fair Employment and Housing Act in order to make provisions against discrimination faced by MMJ users during hiring. But, until the law is passed, you are completely at the discretion of the office and authorities.

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In light of the COVID pandemic, we advise all our patients to see a doctor online instead of visiting the clinic.