A Look At The Future and Past Of California Medical Marijuana
Medical marijuana’s fate in California – There is some concern from medical marijuana dispensaries following the passage of Proposition 64 that the existing medical marijuana industry could be redundant in California. With Recreational marijuana, no recommendation is necessary for adults 21 and over.
Dr. David Balter consults with potential patients seeking medical marijuana cards.
“The bottom line in California, people get this recommendation for pain, insomnia and anxiety ” said Balter.
But soon, anyone over 21 will be able to walk into a store to buy marijuana. Dr. Balter believes the medical marijuana industry is going to have to adapt to retain patients.
“I think medical marijuana has a good chance of disappearing,” said Balter.
Specialization in the medical marijuana business
Nicolas Pitchon, who runs Slo Dro Co., a medical marijuana delivery dispensary, thinks the future of medical cannabis is in specialized strains of marijuana that can be used to treat specific ailments.
“You’re going to see medical cannabis get a lot more specialized treating pain and curing, especially when it comes to cancer, seizures,” said Pitchon.
The more studies that are done, post-legalization, the more information we will have on the over 200 cannabinoids present in cannabis. The more we understand about those cannabinoids, the closer we will be to specialized treatment.
Medical Marijuana and Taxation
The state plans a 15-percent tax on both medical and recreational marijuana and an extra 7.5-percent sales tax on recreational marijuana. Grover Beach will add an additional 5-percent tax on medical and 10-percent on recreational. Santa Barbara will add a 20-percent tax on both. The state will begin issuing licenses to marijuana stores on January 1, 2018.
Medical Marijuana History
California’s medical cannabis program was established when state voters approved the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 on the November 5, 1996 ballot with a 55% majority. The proposition added Section 11362.5 to the California Health and Safety Code, modifying state law to allow people with cancer, anorexia, AIDS, spasticity, glaucoma, arthritis, migraines or other chronic illnesses the “legal right to obtain or grow, and use marijuana for medical purposes when recommended by a doctor”.
Vague wording was an issue in the beginning phases of legalization, though the law has since been clarified through California Supreme Court rulings and the passage of subsequent laws. The first solution of this came by legislation that established statewide guidelines for Proposition 215 by Senate Bill 420 in January 2003. To differentiate patients from non-patients, Governor Gray Davis signed the Medical Marijuana Program Act in 2003, establishing an identification card system for medical marijuana patients. SB 420 also allows for the formation of patient collectives, or non-profit organizations, to provide the drug to patients. In January, 2010, the California Supreme Court ruled in People v. Kelly, that SB 420 did not limit the quantity a patient can possess and all possession limits on medical marijuana in California were lifted.