Medical Marijuana in California

I was recently asked, “If I have a medical marijuana card in California, how much marijuana can I legally possess?”

The short answer according to the federal government, despite California’s liberalized medical marijuana law, is none. As simple as that short answer is, however, it doesn’t really answer the question.

In 1996, California citizens enacted the Compassionate Use Act, which legalized possession of medical marijuana for residents of California who meet the medical requirements defined in the act. This act set up a tension between California and the federal government, which steadfastly refuses to recognize state laws authorizing possession of marijuana. A tension which, 12 years later, continues to leave Californians in a state of uncertainty about exactly what their legal rights are with respect to medical marijuana.

Essentially, California law allows certain “qualified patients” with one or more specified medical conditions to obtain medical marijuana cards … and allows holders of those cards to possess and use limited quantities of marijuana for medicinal purposes.

With a few exceptions, the real answer to the question posed above is that a “qualified patient” may possess no more than eight ounces of dried marijuana. Each such patient may also cultivate and maintain no more than six “mature” or 12 “immature” plants.

Wikipedia has a comprehensive and interesting article on medical marijuana at:

California laws regarding medical marijuana are in Health & Safety Code sections 11362.7 through 11362.83, which can be found at:

California, by the way, is one of 12 states currently defying the federal government by authorizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes. The following website contains a concise summary of the state laws regarding medical marijuana:

The other states which allow some medical use of marijuana are: Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

2 thoughts on “Medical Marijuana in California

    • I am a political & social Libertarian … and think that we’d all be better off if the government stayed out of the business of trying to tell people what they should or shouldn’t eat/drink/smoke or otherwise ingest. I favor legalization (or more accurately, de-criminalization) of all drugs. They could be sold, regulated and taxes, much like alcohol and tobacco (by far the two drugs which do the most societal damage). Ending what Libertarians call “the insane war on drugs” would save billions in law enforcement costs every year — and would save many lives, as well (a substantial percentage of the murders in this country every year are drug related, committed either in drug wars or by drug users committing crimes to obtain money to buy drugs).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s