How does California’s legalization initiative affect cannabis patients?
How does the Adult Use of Marijuana Act voter initiative protect medical marijuana?
The Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) on the 2016 ballot legalizes non-medical cannabis but does not rewrite the medical marijuana laws. It leaves the CUA, MMPA and MMRSA legal defenses just as they are now and it adds new protections for patients,* while ensuring that cannabis patients around the state can grow their own medicine.
What are the current medical use laws like?
Prop 215, the 1996 Compassionate Use Act (CUA), is a voter initiative that created a legal immunity defense against criminal charges of growing or possessing marijuana for personal medical use or by a single caregiver per individual patient. It does not allow for sales or prevent local bans against cannabis gardens. It does not convey any additional rights or prevent police from arresting a qualified patient or charging them with marijuana crimes. Local governments may prohibit home grows under their land use ordinance power.
SB 420, the legislature’s 2013 Medical Marijuana Program Act (MMPA) allows patients to get a voluntary state ID card that protects them from arrest for possessing up to eight ounces of processed medical marijuana and six mature or 12 immature plants. Courts have held that it does not prevent local governments from banning medical marijuana gardens, collectives or delivery services. MMPA created a collective medical defense as a legal immunity for patient-to-patient sales of marijuana that has been repealed by MMRSA (below), effective soon.
AB 243, etc., the legislature’s 2015 Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA) created a mandatory dual licensing system: state agricultural licenses for growers, processors and dispensaries / deliveries will require a local license and regulation for 13 cultivation licenses, solvent and non-solvent extracts, distributors, and retailers. It adds a new safe harbor of 100 square feet of garden canopy per patient. Existing collectives get a licensing advantage. Ends the collective defense; if you provide to more than five patients without being licensed it will be a felony. All local bans on commerce and personal garden remain in place. Under MMRSA, sharing patient to patient will soon again be a misdemeanor with a $100 fine … unless AUMA passes!
Does the Adult Use of Marijuana Act add any new medical protections?
Yes. If AUMA passes, California voters will protect Prop 215 at least nine times.* For patients age 21 and up, marijuana will be legal, not just a court defense. It adopts MMRSA’s regulatory approach for licensing but AUMA renames the lead agency and separates medical from non-medical licenses. It adds new parental and privacy rights for patients, creates the right for adult enclosed, discreet gardens up to six plants and makes it legal for patients to share their medicine. Patients with a voluntary state-ID card will no longer have to pay sales tax but other taxes will apply.
How does AUMA help both patients and adult consumers?
If AUMA passes, it will be legal for Californian adults age 21 and up to possess, carry and share up to one ounce of marijuana and eight grams of concentrate, and to grow up to six plants per residence. Local governments can ban outdoor gardens and ban or license commercial production and sales of marijuana through a variety of possible arrangements, including on-site consumption. Patients who fit into that paradigm will be completely legal. With a doctor’s approval, Prop 215, SB 420 and MMRSA will still cover larger quantities. Most remaining criminal penalties are reduced. Legislators can further reduce penalties and expand cannabis rights, so improvements can continue to be made over time.
Where can I learn about the Adult Use of Marijuana Act?
For information visit AUMA2016.com, legalizeca2016.com, and letsgetitrightca.com. For an in depth examination of California marijuana law and the AUMA initiative, visit chrisconrad.com.