California — Proposition 215, a ballot initiative, passed with 56% of the vote in 1996, and the legislature added protections by passing SB 420 in 2003. Some relatively minor changes have been made since then, such as a 2010 measure to add a buffer zone between dispensaries and schools. In California, the legislature cannot amend a voter-initiative, so SB 420 and other statutes enacted by the legislature are only supplementary. The laws are codified at Cal. Health and Safety Code §11362.5 and 11362.7 et seq.
Qualifying for the Program: California’s law is the only one to allow doctors to recommend medical marijuana for any condition. Medical marijuana can be recommended for “cancer, anorexia, AIDS, chronic pain, spasticity, glaucoma, arthritis, migraine, or any other illness for which marijuana provides relief.” Patients may get a registry identification card from their county health departments, but cards are not mandatory and the vast majority of patients rely on a written recommendation from a physician.
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