Another state which has legalized medicinal cannabis and is in the process of attempting to legalize it for recreational use is California when Ballot Proposition 215 was approved on November 5, 1996 by 56% of voters, thus becoming effective November 6, 1996.
States such as Utah who are just entering the realm of legislation through education can certainly learn from each “legal” state’s mistakes and success.
The ballot served to remove state-level criminal penalties on the use, possession and cultivation of marijuana by patients who possess a “written or oral recommendation” from their physician that he or she “would benefit from medical marijuana.”
Patients diagnosed with any debilitating illness where the medical use of marijuana has been “deemed appropriate and has been recommended by a physician” are afforded legal protection under this act.
California guidelines approved cannabis to treat conditions including AIDS, anorexia, arthritis, cachexia, cancer, chronic pain, glaucoma, migraine, persistent muscle spasms, including spasms associated with multiple sclerosis, seizures, including seizures associated with epilepsy, severe nausea and other chronic or persistent medical symptoms.
The law was amended with Senate Bill 420 on January 1, 2004 and imposed statewide guidelines outlining how much medicinal marijuana patients may grow and possess.
Qualified patients and their primary caregivers may possess no more than eight ounces of dried marijuana and/or six mature (or 12 immature) marijuana plants. However, S.B. 420 allows patients to possess larger amounts of marijuana when recommended by a physician.
The legislation also allows counties and municipalities to approve and/or maintain local ordinances permitting patients to possess larger quantities of medicinal pot than allowed under the new state guidelines. S.B. 420 also grants implied legal protection to the state’s medicinal marijuana dispensaries, stating,
“Qualified patients, persons with valid identification cards, and the designated primary caregivers of qualified patients … who associate within the state of California in order collectively or cooperatively to cultivate marijuana for medical purposes, shall not solely on the basis of that fact be subject to state criminal sanctions.”
Attorney General’s Guidelines:
On August 25, 2008, California Attorney General Jerry Brown issued guidelines for law enforcement and medical marijuana patients to clarify the state’s laws. Those guidelines state that cannabis cooperatives and collectives should operate as non-profit organizations, verify that members are qualified patients and maintain membership records and applications.
Brown also stated that officers should verify the information on the state identification cards, but if no card is presented and the officer doubts the validity of the medical marijuana claim, then the suspect may be arrested and will have to prove his or her medical claim in court.
By sharing information such as this with every Utah lawmaker, grassroots organization such as UtahCARE will continue with their efforts to educate each Utah politician (current or hopeful) about the true benefits of cannabis.
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