Pages tagged "California"

Pay less tax, qualify for compassion programs, & enjoy more legal protection!

Did you know that legal medical cannabis patients and their primary caregivers may apply for a voluntary and confidential ID card through their local county health department? State law now makes the Medical Marijuana Identification Card (MMIC) even more valuable for patients and primary caregivers in California.

Click here to download a copy of this page to print and share (.pdf file).

Sample MMIC

Sales Tax Exemption. MMIC holders do not have to pay sales tax when buying medical cannabis goods from a medical retailer (dispensary). That means a savings of 7.25%  to 10.25%, depending on where you buy medicine. (Revenue and Taxation Code 34011(g))

Compassion Programs. Your MMIC is required if you want to benefit from a Compassion Program – i.e. free or low-cost cannabis goods provided to patients by some medical cannabis retailers. Retailers can no longer distribute free cannabis to patients without a MMIC. (Section 5411 of Title 16, Division 42, of the California Code of Regulations)

Legal Protection. The MMIC may provide you with additional legal protection when you are carrying your medical cannabis. Patients can buy and possess more cannabis than legal adult-use consumers. Patients may also use cannabis products with higher dosages. The MMIC allows law enforcement to immediately identify you as a legal patient. That may help to avoid hassles or confiscation of medicine. (Health and Safety Code 11362.71(e))

The state charges an annual fee of $100 for the MMIC. Low-income patients pay only $50, and indigent patients are eligible for free cards.

You do not have to worry about your privacy. Your application materials are confidential and protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). The Medical Marijuana Application System does not contain any personal information such as name, address, or social security number. It only contains the unique user ID number. When the ID number is entered into the system, the only information provided is whether the card is valid or invalid.

You must apply for the MMIC at your local county health department office or by mail. Email or call (916) 552-8600 for more information. Visit the California Department of Public Health's Medical Marijuana Identification Card Program website here:

California Medical Cannabis Retailers - You can order a box of 1,000 two-sided, full-color, 3" x 5" inch flyers to share with medical cannabis patients for an estimated cost of $150, depending on your shipping address and preferences. This is a great way to educate patients and build goodwill!

Email or call (202) 857-4272 x.1 to order today. Use the link at the top of this page for a free version you can print and copy. 

California patients and dispensaries are affected by inappropriate Proposition 65 complaints

CA logoCalifornia's Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act (Proposition 65) requires that the state maintain a list of substances  known to cause cancer or birth defects.  The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) added cannabis smoke to that list in 2009. ASA holds that the inclusion of cannabis smoke is inappropriate and should be reevaluated.

Businesses in California are required to post warning signs if a customer might be exposed to a substance on the Proposition 65 list. This requirement is intended to protect consumers from being exposed to a harmful substance without their knowledge. Unfortunately, lawyers sometimes use Proposition 65 indiscriminately to demand big settlements from businesses.

Hundreds of medical cannabis dispensaries have been targeted by a handful of attorneys seeking large settlements under Proposition 65. These complaints and lawsuits do nothing to protect legal patients who rely on dispensaries for safe access to their medicine. However, these unreasonable financial demands can drive up costs for patients or even force dispensaries to close. 

ASA is talking with lawyers, policy makers, and other experts about the process for having cannabis smoke removed from the Proposition 65 list and about how to protect medical cannabis businesses and organizations targeted by inappropriate complaints and lawsuits.

Your membership helps support efforts like these. Be sure to keep an eye on the ASA email announcement list for news about Proposition 65 and more. 

Medical cannabis businesses and organizations should contact an experienced attorney if they receive a notice alleging a violation of Proposition 65 or want to evaluate their compliance. 

You can contact ASA at or (202) 857-4272.

What California’s Legalization Initiative Says About Medical Cannabis

California voters approved Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, on November 8, 2016. The initiative reduces or eliminates most penalties for the non-medical use, possession and cultivation of cannabis, within certain limits, by adults aged twenty-one and over. It also creates a state licensing and regulation program that is similar to the one that the state legislature adopted for medical cannabis in 2015.

Our mission at Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is focused exclusively on medical cannabis; and therefore, the organization generally does not take positions of support or opposition regarding adult-use cannabis laws. However, Proposition 64 makes beneficial changes to the state’s medical cannabis laws related to personal cultivation, taxation, and patients’ rights. 

  1. Personal Cultivation – Proposition 64 prohibits cities and counties from banning personal indoor cultivation of up to six plants. This overrides existing bans on medical cannabis cultivation in many jurisdictions in California. Proposition 64 is the first real check on local authority to ban cultivation in California.
  2. Taxation – Proposition 64 exempts medical cannabis patients who have a Medical Marijuana Identification Card (MMIC) issued by a county health department from sales tax. It also caps the cost of those cards at $100. Patients on MediCal can get a card for half price, and cards are for the indigent are free. That is good news for patients. Unlike prescription medicine, medical cannabis is currently subject to sales tax of 7.5% to 10%, depending on where you buy it. Unfortunately, the initiative imposes a new 15% excise tax on cannabis and medical cannabis beginning January 1, 2018. Taxation of medical cannabis will be lower than non-medical cannabis, which will still be subject to sales tax. However, the new excise tax will be an undue burden on some patients.
  3. Patient Privacy – Many patients are reluctant to obtain an MMIC because they fear legal, professional or other consequences for being identified as a medical cannabis patient in state records. Preposition 64 says that “No identification card application system or database… shall contain any personal information of any qualified patient, including but not limited to, the patient’s name, address, social security number, medical conditions, or the names of their primary caregivers.” In combination with the sales tax exemption and lower fees, this enhanced privacy will make it possible for many more patients to enjoy the legal protection offered by a MMIC.
  4. Parental Rights – The imitative will prevent discrimination in parental rights against patients. Proposition 64 says that no one can “restrict or abridge custodial or parental rights to minor children in any action or proceeding under the jurisdiction of family or juvenile court,” so long as the patient is in compliance with the Compassionate Use Act (Proposition 215). This is a huge step forward in protecting the rights of patients and something for which the state legislature has had no appetite.

Some patients in California are worried about the effects of Proposition 64 on patients. The language of the initiative does not abridge any rights granted under the voter-approved Compassionate Use Act (Proposition 215). Patients and caregivers will still be immune from penalties and entitled to cultivate medicine for their own use, subject to the existing limitations in the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MCRSA). 

Many of the provisions in Proposition 64 related to commercial licensing and regulation of adult use in cannabis are complicated. There is likely to be additional legislation related to the initiative and possible litigation. As always, there is the chance of unexpected and unintended consequences.

Your Weekly Source for Medical Cannabis News and Information

Hey California! We're Coming to a City Near You

With the passage of Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA), California’s medical cannabis industry is now moving into a state licensing program. Voters will also be deciding on yet another major regulatory bill, Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) in November. Both laws include robust product safety protocols as well as a new licensing program. 

Patient Focused Certification, a project of Americans for Safe Access is hosting an educational tour for the California medical cannabis industry to help demystify the regulations that will come from Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation (BMMR) and give practical advice for business to meet and exceed these requirements.

Our mission is to help companies surpass regulatory compliance. PFC staff have been working with governments for over 14 years to develop laws and regulations for the the medical cannabis industry. As well as with the American Herbal Products Association and the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia to create industry standards. Which have now been adopted in 16 states.

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Your Weekly Source for Medical Cannabis News and Information

The California Weekly Roundup will be on summer vacation until Monday, August 15. In the meantime, look for important announcements about upcoming events in California and other news on this list.

Get all the news, events, action alerts, & more...

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Your Weekly Source for Medical Cannabis News & Information

Your Weekly Source for Medical Cannabis News & Information

Grassroots action stopped a 10% excise tax on legal medicine

Medical cannabis patients scored a huge victory in California last week, when the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee rejected SB 987. That bill by Assembly Member Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg) would have imposed a statewide excise tax of 10% on medical cannabis. The tax would have been in addition to existing sales tax, any new or existing taxes imposed by cities and counties, and any other taxes adopted by the state legislature.


Americans for Safe Access (ASA) opposed SB 987 because it would have placed an unfair burden on legal medical cannabis patients. Thousands of ASA members sent emails, signed petitions, and made phone calls opposing the bill in response to our action alerts. Hundreds visited legislative offices in person to oppose the bill as part of our California Citizen Lobby Day in March. Those efforts paid off last Monday, when the committee voted 4 to 5 to kill SB 987.


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