California made history in the United States as the first state to legalize medical cannabis in 1996 when voters approved Proposition 215, also known as The Compassionate Use Act of 1996.
Then in 2016 voters passed the “Medical and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act,” which legalizes recreational use for adults 21 years and older. This law went into effect in January 2018, and it establishes a joint regulatory system for both medical and recreational legalization.
If cannabis is legal for adult use in California, without a physician’s recommendation, why get a medical marijuana card? There are still a few incentives for patients to get their recommendation.
For example, patients with a valid recommendation from a physician do not have to pay as much tax as is charged on recreational purchases. Medical marijuana patients also have the right to cultivate more plants at home than those growing under the recreational law. Patients with a physician’s recommendation also have the right to consume medical cannabis in public, where as recreational use is only permitted in private.
If you don’t have a physician’s recommendation and you’re 21 or over, you must smoke in a private location, like your home or private function. You cannot smoke in public without a physician’s recommendation.
While a patient’s right to consume medicine is protected under the law, even with a doctor’s recommendation, there are still five places in California that a patient cannot light up.
No Smoking Zones
It remains illegal for registered patients to consume medical cannabis anywhere that smoking is prohibited by law. This may include office buildings, restaurants and bars, and public lands like Yosemite National Park.
Within 1,000 Feet Of A School Or Youth Facility
It is illegal to smoke weed in front of minors, so schools, recreational and youth facilities are out of the question. If you are inside a private residence that is within 1,000 feet of a school or youth facility, you may still consume legally. To play it safe, just do not light up outside if you are within 1,000 feet of anywhere that minors are expected to be.
In A Motor Vehicle That Is Operating
Consuming cannabis while driving in a car remains illegal in California, even if you are only riding in the passenger seat. It is definitely illegal to do it while driving. In compliance with the law, cannabis should be transported in a container in the trunk of the car to ensure it isn’t being used while the vehicle is operating.
While Operating A Boat
Just like the rules of the road, it is illegal to consume cannabis while driving a boat. The same dangers of operating a vehicle while intoxicated apply on the water.
On a school bus
Other than these five places, medical cannabis patients in California have the right to take their medicine where and when they need it. Just be sure to always carry your physician’s recommendation so that you can show law enforcement that you’re legally permitted to consume where you are.