How do patients get medical marijuana recommendations?
A chart of local area ordinances, and links to resources to track changes, are available in our article on recreational marijuana rules. You can always check the most recent status of the law by visiting the city or county code directly.
Marijuana use, possession, and distribution is illegal under federal law. 21 U.S.C. § 801 et seq. There is no exception or special treatment for medical use, and California law cannot override federal law.
City and County Laws
A Medical Marijuana ID card is optional—patients do not need to get one to use medical marijuana legally, just a doctor’s recommendation. However, it can be very useful. It exempts the patient from paying taxes on marijuana purchases. In addition, the ID card prevents law enforcement from arresting a patient with permissible amounts of marijuana (which may exceed the legal recreational limits).
Patients with a doctor’s recommendation can grow or possess larger quantities of marijuana than recreational users. In addition, if you are under 21, you must have a doctor’s recommendation to purchase marijuana. (Note: some dispensaries have discontinued sales to patients under 21, even with recommendation, to fit within recreational dispensary rules.) Finally, a county-issued medical marijuana ID card exempts you from tax on marijuana purchases.
In February 2021, Attorney General nominee Merrick Garland (now confirmed) stated that he would reinstitute a version of the Obama era “Cole Memorandum,” affirming that his Justice Department would not pursue cases against Americans in states which legalize and regulate marijuana. (“Attorney general nominee Garland signals friendlier marijuana stance,” Feb. 22, 2021 MJBizDaily.com). Federal decriminalization is a priority of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. (“Schumer: Senate will act on marijuana legalization with or without Biden,” April 3, 2021, by Natalie Fertig, Politico.com.)
Medical use of marijuana/cannabis has been legal since Proposition 215, the “Compassionate Use Act,” passed in 1996 (Cal. Health & Safety (H&S) § 11362.5). After Proposition 64 legalized recreational marijuana, the legislature passed the passed the “Medical and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act” (“MAUCRSA”), creating a combined regulatory system for both medical and recreational marijuana. (Read NORML’s summary here: www.canorml.org/Cal_NORML_Guide_to_AUMA.)
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Date and time: Tue, 11 Jan 2022 06:00:52 GMT
The agriculture department included a copy of the temporary license application in its rules out Thursday.
But in June, legislators tacked Senate Bill 94 onto the state budget. That trailer bill — known as the the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act — called for merging the medical and recreational laws into one unified system. And where there were discrepancies between the two, the bill largely sided with proposed rules for the recreational sector, including how cannabis would be distributed and what types of licenses would be available.
Still, speaking from the massive Marijuana Business Conference & Expo happening now in Las Vegas, he said most industry insiders are anxious to move forward and ready to roll with the punches.
“It’s not like the regulations that were dropped today fell out of the sky,” he said.
The three sets of rules released Thursday by each agency include expected rules for strict testing and tracking all products from seed to sale. They also added dozens of pages of rules regarding fees, enforcement and new license types. And they kept controversial limits from the proposed rules on how much THC, the compound that makes consumers high, can be in edibles. Here are some specific regulations laid out for businesses:
While there are many changes from the draft rules out in April, Daniel Yi, spokesman for the Los Angeles-based dispensary chain MedMen, said most established businesses have seen the writing on the wall. They were able to prepare with the help of the draft rules and the process that’s unfolded in other legal marijuana states.
The local permits are causing some concern in the industry, Yi said — particularly in cities such as Los Angeles, which is scrambling to roll out its own rules.
The plan was to incorporate that feedback into final medical marijuana regulations, which were expected to arrive this fall. And the three agencies would also use the comments to shape recreational cannabis regulations, which would be issued under an “emergency rulemaking process,” since there wasn’t time to hold more public hearings before the Jan. 1 deadline.