Cannabis Business Resources
Cannabis Business Resources – Cannabis Business Start-Up Memoranda
- Brief Background of Legal Cannabis Regulation in California
- Cannabis Business Recordkeeping
- Cannabis Distributor Responsibilities
- IRC Sec. 280E Memorandum
- Cannabis Cultivation As Farming
Excerpt from the Background Memo –
California Proposition 215, also known as the Medical Use of Cannabis Initiative or the Compassionate Use Act, was approved by California voters as an initiative amendment to the California Constitution in the November 5, 1996, general election.
The passage of Proposition 215 in California was a watershed victory for medical cannabis. Proposition 215 exempts patients and defined caregivers who possess or cultivate cannabis for medical treatment recommended by a physician from criminal laws which otherwise prohibit possession or cultivation of cannabis.
Cannabis Business Resources
In May 2009, the United States Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of a California state appellate ruling from 2008 that upheld Proposition 215 and concluded that California can decide whether to eliminate its own criminal penalties for medical cannabis regardless of federal law. The appellate court decision came in a lawsuit against Proposition 215 filed by San Diego and San Bernardino counties.
These counties objected to Proposition 215 on the grounds that it requires the counties to condone drug use that is illegal under federal law. The two counties also challenged a law that requires counties to issue identification cards to medical cannabis patients so these patients can identify themselves to law enforcement officials as legally entitled to possess small amounts of cannabis. [ San Francisco Chronicle, “Solano to allow medical cannabis ID cards,” June 24, 2009]
Proposition 215 also led to the lawsuit, People v. Kelly. The Kelly case was decided in January 2010 by the California Supreme Court. In the Kelly case the Court held the state of California cannot, through the legislative process, impose a state limit on medical cannabis that is more restrictive than what is allowed under Proposition 215. The Kelly case also limits the extent to which California’s initiative process is protected against legislative tampering.
The language that appeared on the ballot stated:
- Exempts patients and defined caregivers who possess or cultivate cannabis for medical treatment recommended by a physician from criminal laws which otherwise prohibit possession or cultivation of cannabis.
- Provides that physicians who recommend the use of cannabis for medical treatment shall not be punished or denied any right or privilege for making such a recommendation.
- Declares that the measure is not be construed to supersede prohibitions of conduct endangering others or to condone the diversion of cannabis for non-medical purposes.
- Contains severability clause