INTRODUCTION TO CALIFORNIA CANNABIS LAW
- Hundreds of medical cannabis dispensaries, cooperatives, collectives, and delivery services are currently doing business in California. Although many are operating in legal accordance with state and local laws, the sale of medical cannabis remains strictly illegal under federal law.
- Under state law, the California Compassionate Use Act of 1996 (Prop. 215) patients and their “primary caregivers” are protected from criminal prosecution under state law for personal possession and cultivation of marijuana, but NOT for distribution or sale to others. State law was expanded in 2004 by a new law, Senate Bill 420 (Health & Safety Code 11362.7-8). Among other things, SB 420 authorized patient “cooperatives” or “collectives” to grow, distribute and/or sell medical marijuana on a non-profit basis to their members. It also allows duly designated primary caregivers who consistently attend to patients’ needs to charge for their labor and services in providing marijuana.
- On September 30, 2010, Gov. Schwarzenegger signed bill AB 2650 (Buchanan), which prohibits medical marijuana collectives from operating within 600 feet of a school as of January 1, 2011. It covers all activities by dispensaries or other providers that have a storefront location or mobile outlet and are required to have a business license. The bill grandfathers dispensaries that are currently allowed to operate there under existing local regulations.