Medical Marijuana Initiative Section 1. Section 11362.5 is added to the Health and Safety Code, to read: 11362.5. (a) This section shall be known and may be cited as the Compassionate Use Act of 1996. (b) (l) The people of the State of California hereby find
and declare that the purposes of the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 are as follows: (A) To ensure that seriously ill Californians have the right to obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes where that medical use is deemed appropriate and has been recommended by a physician who has determined that the person’s health would benefit from the use of marijuana in the treatment of cancer, anorexia, AIDS, chronic pain, spasticity, glaucoma, arthritis, migraine, or any other illness for which marijuana provides relief. (B) To ensure that patients and their primary caregivers who obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes upon the recommendation of a physician are not subject to criminal prosecution or sanction. (C) To encourage the federal and state governments to
implement a plan to provide for the safe and affordable distribution of marijuana to all patients in medical need of marijuana. (2) Nothing in this act shall be construed to supersede legislation prohibiting persons from engaging in conduct
that endangers others, nor to condone the diversion of marijuana for nonmedical purposes. With standing any other provision of law, no physician in this state shall be punished, or denied any right or privilege, for having recommended marijuana to a patient for medical purposes. (d) Section 11357, relating to the possession of marijuana, and Section 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 the written or oral recommendation or approval of a physician. (e) For the purposes of this section, “primary caregiver” means the individual designated by the person exempted under this act who has consistently assumed responsibility for the housing, health, or safety of that person. Sec. 2. If any provision of this measure or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, that invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of the measure which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this en d the provisions of this measure are severable.
On November 5th, Californians approved Prop. 215, allowing patients to use medical marijuana. Voter support of this historic new law was 55.7% in favor verses only 44.3% opposed, a spread of 11.4 points.
The passage of Proposition 215 would give the people of California legal access to a remarkably safe, highly versatile, and potentially inexpensive medicine. Patients find marijuana helpful for nausea and vomiting, for glaucoma and as an appetite stimulant. It is used for the relief of muscle spasms and seizures, as well as osteoarthritis, menstrual cramps, migraine and other forms of chronic pain. It is safer than most prescription
medicines and often works better, with less serious side effects.
If marijuana were not prohibited, it would also be less expensive than most conventional medications. The cost of medical marijuana would be $20 to $30 an ounce, or about 30 cents per cigarette. Once cigarette usually relieves the nausea and vomiting produced by cancer chemotherapy. So does a standard dose of Zofran, the best legally available treatment, which costs $30 to $40 – at least 100 times the price of marijuana. According to a 1995 poll conducted by the American Civil Liberties Union, 85 percent of Americans think marijuana should be available as a medicine. Interest in medical marijuana is becoming so great that physicians in California and elsewhere may soon be asked to assume responsibilities for which they are unprepared. Nineteenth-century doctors were more sophisticated about marijuana than contemporary ones. Between 1840 and 1900, more than 100 articles on the therapeutic use of the drug then known as Indian hemp were published in European and American medical journals. When medical use in the United States was effectively outlawed by the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, the American Medical Association, to its credit, opposed the ban. Since then, unfortunately, the medical community has become largely ignorant