California

California

1,580,488
Registered Patient Population
4.00%
of Total Population Represented by Patients
813
Total Medical Retail Locations Currently in Operation
1,944 : 1
Patients : Retail

Cannabis is theoretically legal to all adults over 21 in California. Despite this, a byzantine regulatory structure has many counties and towns throughout the state with local restrictions keeping dispensaries from opening or producers from operating. Many of these local restrictions came with adult use cannabis and have unfortunately impacted access for medical cannabis patients by allowing localities to ban activities previously permitted to patients like growing at home or operating a dispensary. Patients in rural areas still report a lack of access, and patients across the state report a lack of consistency when it comes to the quality of their medication. Patients also face high prices due in part to multiple layers of taxes that compound cost. California also falls short in supplying sufficient legal protections to their citizens by failing to protect against discrimination of patients in employment, housing, and in roadside sobriety tests. Though some Californians saw no improvements in the program between 2020 and 2021, others saw improved access thanks to expanded delivery services provided by emergency COVID measures.

California does not recognize out of state medical cannabis cards.

Patient Rights and Civil Protections 70/100   
Arrest Protection 25/25
Affirmative Defense 20/20
Parental Rights Protections 20/20
Employment Protections 0/20
DUI Protections 0/10
Explicit Privacy Standards 5/5
Access to Medicine 73/100   
Authorizes Retail Access 10/10
Alternative Accessibility Methods 13/20
- Authorizes Delivery 8/10
- Authorizes Curbside Pickup 5/10
Personal Cultivation 15/15
Collective Gardening 0/5
Sufficient Number of Licenced Retailers 25/30
Reciprocity 10/20
Program Functionality 85/100   
Legal Protections Within Reasonable Time Frame 20/20
Reasonable Possession Limits 10/10
Reasonable Purchase Limits 10/10
Telemedicine for Physician Certifications 15/15
Patient and Physician Representation in Program Decision Making 5/20
Reasonable Caregiver Standards 5/5
- Background Checks 2/2
- Number of Caregivers 3/3
Reasonable Physician Standards 5/5
Access to Administration Methods 10/10
- Allows Dried Flower 5/5
- Allows Edibles, Concentrates, and Other Forms 5/5
Provides Access to Minors on School Grounds 5/5
Affordability 40/100   
Sales Tax Break for Patients and Caregivers 10/20
Covered by State Insurance or Health Aid 0/20
Reasonable Registration Fees 10/20
Financial Hardship Waivers or Discounts 20/20
Donation Program 0/10
Allows Multi-Year Registrations 0/10
Health and Social Equity 74/100   
State Program Protections 25/25
Housing Protections 20/25
Access for Minors 10/10
Access in Underserved Areas 5/10
List of Qualifying Conditions is Exhaustive or All Inclusive 10/10
Allows Patients to Medicate Where they Choose 0/10
Organ Transplants 3/5
Ownership or Employment Restrictions 1/5
Consumer Protection and Product Safety 154/200   
Total 34/50
Quality Management Systems 10/10
Staff Training 2/10
Standard Operating Procedures 3/8
- Facility and Equipment Sanitation 1/1
- Workplace Safety 0/1
- Storage 0/1
- Batch and Lot Tracking 0/1
- Security 0/1
- Waste Disposal 1/1
- Water Management 1/1
- Records Management 0/1
Pesticide Usage Limitations 2/2
Environmental Impact Regulations 2/2
Required Testing 7/8
- Cannabinoids 1/1
- Terpenes 0/1
- Microbials 1/1
- Aflatoxins 1/1
- Pesticides 1/1
- Heavy Metals 1/1
- Foreign Matter 1/1
- Moisture Content/ Water Activity 1/1
Packaging and Labeling 1/3
- Cannabinoids 1/1
- Terpenes 0/1
- Pesticides 0/1
Complaints, Adverse Event Reporting, and Recall Protocol 7/7
Total 48/50
Quality Management Systems 10/10
Staff Training 10/10
Standard Operating Procedures 7/7
- Facility and Equipment Sanitation 1/1
- Workplace Safety 1/1
- Storage 1/1
- Batch and Lot Tracking 1/1
- Security 1/1
- Waste Disposal 1/1
- Records Management 1/1
Environmental Impact Regulations 3/3
Required Testing 9/10
- Cannabinoids 1/1
- Terpenes 0/1
- Microbials 1/1
- Aflatoxins 1/1
- Pesticides 1/1
- Heavy Metals 1/1
- Residual Solvents 1/1
- Homogeneity 1/1
- Foreign Matter 1/1
- Water Activity 1/1
Packaging and Labeling 4/5
- Cannabinoids 1/1
- Terpenes 0/1
- Ingredients 1/1
- Allergens 1/1
- Nutritional Content 1/1
Complaints, Adverse Event Reporting and Recall Protocol 5/5
Total 27/50
Staff Training 5/20
Standard Operating Procedures 4/7
- Facility Sanitation 1/1
- Workplace Safety 0/1
- Storage 0/1
- Batch and Lot Tracking 1/1
- Security 1/1
- Waste Disposal 1/1
- Records Management 0/1
Product Testing 5/10
- Product Meets Requirements Before Sale 5/5
- COA Disclosure 0/5
Complaints, Adverse Event Reporting and Recall Protocol 13/13
Total 45/50
Independent or Third-Party 0/5
Laboratory Sampling 5/5
Method Validation 4/4
Quality Management Systems 5/5
Staff Training 20/20
Standard Operating Procedures 7/7
- Facility and Equipment Sanitation 1/1
- Equipment and Instrument Calibration 1/1
- Workplace Safety 1/1
- Sample Tracking 1/1
- Security 1/1
- Waste Disposal 1/1
- Records Management 1/1
Result Reporting 4/4
Score Penalties 10/100   
Gives Regulatory Preference to Adult Use 10/20
Classifies Cannabis as a Medicine of Last Resort 0/15
Administrative or Supply Problems 0/15
Requires Vertical Integration 0/10
Creates New Criminal Penalties for Patients 0/10
Limits Patients to a Single Retailer 0/10
No System for Adding Qualifying Conditions 0/10
Imposes Bans or Limits on THC 0/5
Imposes Bans or Limits on CBD 0/5
Excerpted from ASA's 2021 State of the States Report.
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Becoming a Patient in California

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Recommending Cannabis in California

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History Of Medical Cannabis In California

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Policy Recommendations California

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Ryan's Law (SB 311)