Cannabis in California is permitted, subject to regulations, for both medical and recreational use. In recent decades the state has led the country in efforts to legalize cannabis, holding the first (unsuccessful) vote to decriminalize it in 1972 and, through Proposition 215, becoming the first state to legalize it for medical use in 1996. Adult recreational use of cannabis is legal in California under Prop. 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA), approved by the voters on November 8, 2016. In general, AUMA allows adults 21 and over to possess, privately use, and give away up to one ounce of cannabis, and to cultivate no more than six plants for personal use at their residence.
Legal sales for non-medical use are allowed by law beginning January 1, 2018, following formulation of new regulations on retail market by the state's Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation (to be renamed Bureau of Marijuana Control). It also legalizes the commercial sale, distribution and production of cannabis for adult use at state-licensed facilities, under terms spelled out in the Medical and Adult Use of Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA) approved by the legislature in 2017. Local city and county governments can restrict or ban cannabis businesses in their jurisdiction.
Adults the age of 21 or older were allowed to:
- Possess, transport, process, purchase, obtain, or give away, without any compensation whatsoever, no more than one ounce of dry cannabis or eight grams concentrated cannabis to adults the age of 21 or older.
- Possess, plant, cultivate, harvest, dry, or process no more than six live plants and the produce of those plants in a private residence, in a locked area not seen from normal view, in compliance with all local ordinances.
- Smoke or ingest cannabis.
- Possess, transport, purchase, obtain, use, manufacture, or give away marijuana paraphernalia to peoples the age of 21 or older.
Users may not:
- Smoke it where tobacco is prohibited.
- Possess, ingest or smoke within 1,000 feet of a day care, school, or youth center while children are present (except within a private residence and if said smoke is not detectable to said children).
- Manufacture concentrated cannabis using a volatile solvent without a license under Chapter 3.5 of Division 8 or Division 10 of the Business and Professions Code.
- Possess an open container or marijuana paraphernalia while in the driver or passenger seat of a vehicle used for transportation.
- Smoke or ingest marijuana while operating a vehicle used for transportation.
- Smoke or ingest marijuana while riding in the passenger seat or compartment of a vehicle.
California's medical cannabis program was established when state voters approved Proposition 215 (also known as the Compassionate Use Act of 1996) on the November 5, 1996 ballot with a 55% majority. The proposition added Section 11362.5 to the California Health and Safety Code, modifying state law to allow people with cancer, anorexia, AIDS, spasticity, glaucoma, arthritis, migraines or other chronic illnesses the "legal right to obtain or grow, and use marijuana for medical purposes when recommended by a doctor". The law also mandated that doctors not be punished for recommending the drug, and required that federal and state governments work together "to implement a plan to provide for the safe and affordable distribution of marijuana to all patients in medical need."
Vague wording became a major criticism of Prop. 215, though the law has since been clarified through California Supreme Court rulings and the passage of subsequent laws. The first solution of this came by legislation that established statewide guidelines for Proposition 215 by Senate Bill 420 in January 2003. To differentiate patients from non-patients, Governor Gray Davis signed California Senate Bill 420 (colloquially known as the Medical Marijuana Program Act) in 2003, establishing an identification card system for medical marijuana patients. SB 420 also allows for the formation of patient collectives, or non-profit organizations, to provide the drug to patients. In January, 2010, the California Supreme Court ruled in People v. Kelly, that SB 420 did not limit the quantity a patient can possess and all possession limits on medical marijuana in California were lifted.
On October 7, 2011, an extensive and coordinated crackdown on California's marijuana dispensaries was announced by the chief prosecutors of the state's four federal districts, which caused widespread panic within the social community thereof. These subsided in the time following.
Cannabis was cultivated for fiber and rope as early as 1795 in California, when cultivation began at Mission San Jose under the governorship of Diego de Borica. Cannabis was grown in several regions of Southern California, with two-thirds of it being grown on the missions. California produced 13,000 pounds of hemp in 1807, and 220,000 pounds in 1810. However in 1810 Mexico began to rebel against the Spanish crown, and the subsidies for growing hemp were cut, leading to a near-disappearance of the crop. A few missions continued to grow it for local use, and the Russian colonists grew hemp at Fort Ross until the station was abandoned in 1841.
California Becomes First State to Legalize Medical Marijuana
After 56% of its voters voted “yes” to known as Proposition 215, it permits patients and their primary caregivers, with a physician' s recommendation, to possess and cultivate marijuana for the treatment of AIDS, cancer, muscular spasticity, migraines, and several other disorders; it also protects them from punishment if they recommend marijuana to their patients.
California legalises recreational cannabis
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