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California voters passed Proposition 215 in 1996, to legalize the medicinal use of marijuana by qualified patients. Proposition 215 was entitled the "Compassionate Use Act of 1996" and enacted Health & Safety Code, section 11362.5, copied below. However, the Act does not protect marijuana plants from seizure or individuals from federal prosecution under the federal Controlled Substances Act.
The following is the exact text of Proposition 215:
Proposition 215: Text of Proposed Law
This initiative measure is submitted to the people in accordance with the provisions of Article II, Section 8 of the Constitution.
This initiative measure adds a section to the Health and Safety Code; therefore, new provisions proposed to be added are printed in italic type to indicate that they are new.
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.
This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified medical marijuana lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local medical marijuana attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.