California Legal Manual: Introduction

Mission of Americans for Safe Access

Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is the largest national memberbased organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic uses and research. ASA provides legal training and medical information to patients, attorneys, health and medical professionals and policymakers throughout the United States. We also organize media support for court cases, rapid response to law enforcement raids, and capacity-building for advocates. Our successful lobbying, media and legal campaigns have resulted in important court precedents, new sentencing standards, and more compassionate community guidelines.

The mission of Americans for Safe Access is to ensure safe and legal access to cannabis (marijuana) for therapeutic uses and research.

Patients' Rights Project

ASA's Patients' Rights Project is a result of the outcry for accessible and current legal information on medical marijuana. Medical cannabis patients and their providers suffer pervasive discrimination in employment, child custody, housing, public accommodation, education and medical care because of misinformation about the medical efficacy of cannabis and a lack of statutory legal protections. Furthermore, patients and their care providers are vulnerable to federal and state raids, arrest, prosecution, and incarceration. ASA's Legal Affairs Department creates, protects, and expands the rights of medical cannabis patients through direct support, extensive monitoring, proactive litigation, education, organizing attorneys, and the drafting of legislation.

The information found in this booklet specifically, and our legal support efforts in general, are meant to educate patients, caregivers, attorneys, and medical professionals on state law, assist them with bringing their activities in line with existing state law,as well as providing the tools for protecting themselves from local and federal law enforcement.

This manual is specific to California law. While some information, like the Law Enforcement Encounters section, may be applied to all states, the laws and regulations concerning medical marijuana are specific to each state. Please contact ASA for more information regarding medical marijuana law outside of California.

As part of the Patients' Rights Project, ASA documents law enforcement encounters and helps guide patients through the legal system. If you have been harassed, detained, arrested, or had your property confiscated by city, county, or state law enforcement, please call 1-888-929-4367. Visit our website for more on the many aspects of ASA's Legal Department.

California's medical marijuana law aims to have local governments adopt guidelines regarding patient and caregiver conduct has led to unequal application of the law, selective enforcement, and different interpretations of the law. By familiarizing yourself with the following information, you will be better equipped to handle a law enforcement encounter if that should ever happen.