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What Are The Laws Of Medical Marijuana In Canada?

California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana. Patients who meet certain criteria can lawfully obtain and consume marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation under California law. California just legalized recreational marijuana usage, but federal law still makes all marijuana use illegal. Here’s what you need to know if you’re considering taking medicinal marijuana.


Since 1996, when Proposition 215, the “Compassionate Use Act,” was passed (Cal. Health & Safety (H&S) 11362.5), medical marijuana/cannabis has been permitted. The legislature passed the “Medical and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act” (“MAUCRSA”) after Proposition 64 legalized recreational marijuana, providing an integrated regulatory structure for both medical and recreational marijuana. (For further information, see NORML Guide to AUMA.)

For-profit cultivation, distribution, manufacture, testing, dispensary, and transportation are all permitted and regulated under these guidelines, which require permissions from both municipal and state agencies. Beginning January 1, 2018, temporary state licenses were made accessible.

Individual patients are mostly unaffected by these regulations as long as they cultivate only for personal medical purposes buy weed online and limit their growing area to 100 square feet. Primary caregivers are exempt from the new guidelines if they cultivate up to 500 square feet for the personal medical use of up to five patients.

Laws of the City and County

Dispensaries and marijuana growing are prohibited or regulated in many cities and counties. Any county or city may have its own set of rules and regulations. The majority of them may be found on the internet.

Our post on recreational marijuana rules includes a list of local area ordinances as well as links to tools for tracking changes. You may always check the most up-to-date status of the law by going directly to the city or county code.

Federal Regulations

Under federal law, marijuana use, possession, and distribution are all prohibited. 801 et seq., 21 U.S.C. For medical purposes, there is no exception or special care, and California law cannot overrule federal law.

Attorney General nominee Merrick Garland (since confirmed) announced in February 2021 that he would reinstitute a version of the Obama administration’s “Cole Memorandum,” confirming that his Justice Department would not prosecute prosecutions against Americans in jurisdictions where marijuana is legalized and regulated. (“Attorney General Nominee Garland Signals Friendlier Marijuana Position,”, Feb. 22, 2021). Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has made federal decriminalization a top objective. “With or without Biden, the Senate will proceed on marijuana legalization,” by Natalie Fertig,, April 3, 2021.)

Questions about medical marijuana that are frequently asked

Do I still need a medical prescription now that recreational marijuana is legal?

Patients who have a doctor’s recommendation are allowed to produce or possess more marijuana than recreational users. Furthermore, if you are under the age of 21, you must obtain a doctor’s permission before purchasing marijuana. (Note: to comply with recreational dispensary guidelines, some dispensaries have stopped selling to people under the age of 21 even with a doctor’s recommendation.) Finally, a medical marijuana ID card issued by the county exempts you from paying tax on marijuana sales.

Patients are given medical marijuana suggestions in a variety of ways.

Marijuana is not “prescribed” by doctors. Prescriptions for Schedule I narcotics, such as marijuana, are expressly prohibited by federal law. Instead, doctors might “recommend” marijuana in certain circumstances. Prop. 215 refers to those suffering from “cancer, anorexia, AIDS, chronic pain, spasticity, glaucoma, arthritis, migraine, or any other ailment for which marijuana gives treatment.” Marijuana has been prescribed by doctors for a variety of additional ailments, including insomnia, depression, anxiety, PTSD, and many others.

Rather than the patients’ regular physician, most medicinal marijuana recommendations are made by doctors who specialize in examining patients for recommendation. Before making a suggestion, the recommended doctor should evaluate the patients’ previous medical records, including any additional medications they are currently taking.

What methods do patients use to obtain marijuana, and how much may they have?

Individual patients (and their carers) are allowed to have up to six mature or 12 immature plants and eight ounces of dried cannabis under Senate Bill 420 (2003). Patients can either produce their own cannabis or buy it from a registered dispensary. Selling without a license is illegal.

If cities and counties so desire, they can raise the quantity limits (although more than 100 square feet would subject the individual to the new licensing requirements.) They can also impose zoning limitations, such as outlawing dispensaries or outdoor cultivation, so verify your local laws.

What exactly is a Medical Marijuana Identification Card, and how do people obtain one?

Patients do not require a Medical Marijuana ID card to consume medical marijuana legally; all they need is a doctor’s recommendation. It can, however, be extremely beneficial. It exempts the patient from paying marijuana-related taxes. Furthermore, the ID card precludes law enforcement from detaining a patient who is in possession of authorized marijuana levels (which may exceed the legal recreational limits).

County Departments of Public Health are in charge of issuing cards. The card comes with a fee; in Sacramento County, the fee is presently $100 per year ($50 with verification of Medi-Cal insurance) (“Medical Marijuana Identification Card – Frequently Asked Questions,” Sacramento County Department of Health Services).

Marijuana collected during a police stop or arrest must be returned.

Whether or not the patient is arrested, law enforcement agents may confiscate (seize) marijuana during an inquiry. The patient is entitled to the return of the property, but it is not always as simple as asking for it.

The patient can submit a motion for restoration of property if the police department refuses to release the marijuana when asked. The Law Library has information and samples for this, as well as the website of Americans for Safe Access (ASA). This website also provides information about patients’ legal rights when dealing with law enforcement, as well as practical advice on how to produce and use medicinal marijuana.

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