In 1996, voters passed Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 (“CUA”) and it was put into legislation as Health and Safety Code § 11362.5. There were two main purposes of the CUA. First, it was meant to “ensure that seriously ill Californians have the right to obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes”.
Second, it was meant to ensure that caregivers who obtain and provide medical marijuana are not subject to criminal prosecution. This meant that Health and Safety Code § 11357, relating to possession of marijuana, and § 11358, relating to the cultivation of marijuana, “shall not apply to a patient, or to a patient’s primary caregiver, who possesses or cultivates marijuana for the personal medical purposes of the patient” upon a doctor’s recommendation. In other words, Proposition 215 provided an immunity to prosecution or a defense at trial.
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