Medical Marijuana Primary Caregiver Laws in California

Locate a Local Criminal Lawyer

Find Lawyers in Other Categories
Most Common Defense and Criminal Law Issues

Medical Marijuana Primary Caregiver Laws in California

In California, primary caregivers and patients with medical prescriptions are exempt from criminal liability for the possession and cultivation of medical marijuana.

However, in order to enjoy exemption from criminal liability as a primary caregiver, one must ensure that they meet the requirements set by the California Compassionate Use Act of 1996.

Who Can Become a Primary Caregiver?

A prescribed medical marijuana patient can designate anyone they choose as their primary caregiver. However, in order for the designated primary caregiver to qualify for the criminal liability exemption, they must actually provide care-giving services to the patient beyond just the assistance with medical marijuana.

Under California law, a designated primary caregiver must "consistently assume responsibility for the housing, health, or safety of the patient." California courts have interpreted this to require that a designated primary caregiver:

  1. Consistently provide care-giving
  2. Independent of any assistance in taking medical marijuana
  3. At or before the time he or she assumed responsibility for assisting with medical marijuana.

How Much Medical Marijuana Is a Primary Caregiver Allowed to Possess?

A prescribed medical marijuana patient and their primary caregiver are permitted to possess up to 8 ounces of dried marijuana and can maintain up to 6 mature or 12 immature plants.

However, a doctor may write a prescription permitting the patient and caregiver to carry a greater amount reasonably related to the needs of the patient.

How Does One Prove They Are a Primary Caregiver to Police?

State Issued ID Cards: The most secure way to prove one’s status as a primary caregiver is to apply for a state issued medical marijuana ID card through the California Department of Public Health. A qualified caregiver who possesses a state issued medical marijuana ID card should generally be protected from arrest and marijuana seizure.

A Valid Prescription or Doctor’s Note: As an alternative, one can protect his or herself from arrest and marijuana seizure with a valid prescription or doctor’s note. However, these notes are less secure than a state issued ID card as police are granted more discretion in their determination of the validity of the prescription note.

In other words, police should generally recognize the protection granted by a state issued medical marijuana ID card, but they can decide whether or not to believe a doctor’s note.

Can Someone Serve as a Primary Caregiver for More than One Patient?

An individual may serve as primary caregiver for more than one patient so long as the primary caregiver lives in the same city or county as the patients they serve.

Can a Primary Caregiver Receive Compensation for Their Services?

A primary caregiver is permitted to receive compensation for both:

If you have a legal issue relating to medical marijuana you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney for more information.

Consult a Lawyer - Present Your Case Now!
Last Modified: 12-02-2013 02:06 PM PST

Find the Right Lawyer Now

Link to this page

Law Library Disclaimer

LegalMatch Service Mark