November, 1996

Proposition 215
Medical Use of Marijuana.


Under current state law, it is a crime to grow or possess marijuana, regardless of whether the marijuana is used to ease pain or other symptoms associated with illness. Criminal penalties vary, depending on the amount of marijuana involved. It is also a crime to transport, import into the state, sell, or give away marijuana.

Licensed physicians and certain other health care providers routinely prescribe drugs for medical purposes, including relieving pain and easing symptoms accompanying illness. These drugs are dispensed by pharmacists. Both the physician and pharmacist are required to keep written records of the prescriptions.


This measure amends state law to allow persons to grow or possess marijuana for medical use when recommended by a physician. The measure provides for the use of marijuana when a physician has determined that the person's health would benefit from its use in the treatment of cancer, anorexia, AIDS, chronic pain, spasticity, glaucoma, arthritis, migraine, or "any other illness for which marijuana provides relief." The physician's recommendation may be oral or written. No prescriptions or other record-keeping is required by the measure.

The measure also allows caregivers to grow and possess marijuana for a person for whom the marijuana is recommended.

The measure states that no physician shall be punished for having recommended marijuana for medical purposes. Furthermore, the measure specifies that it is not intended to overrule any law that prohibits the use of marijuana for nonmedical purposes.

Fiscal Effect

Because the measure specifies that growing and possessing marijuana is restricted to medical uses when recommended by a physician, and does not change other legal prohibitions on marijuana, this measure would probably have no significant state or local fiscal effect.

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