More than twenty years ago, California passed the Compassionate Use Act (Proposition 215), with the intent of ensuring that seriously ill Californians could access and use medical cannabis. Cultivators and others in the cannabis industry have been donating cannabis low-income and sick patients for many years. However, the 2016 ballot measure that created our current system of regulated adult use and medicinal cannabis (Proposition 64) failed to create a workable system for the continuation of compassionate use donations. The structures that facilitated donations to medicinal patients became complicated and expensive; for example, businesses would need to pay high tax rates (cultivation and excise), even on donated cannabis.
In October of last year, in response to committed and sustained pressure by advocates, Governor Newsom signed SB 34, the Dennis Peron and Brownie Mary Act, regulating “the distribution of donated medicinal cannabis and medicinal cannabis products” and restoring legal and tax-exempt pathways to provide access to medicinal cannabis patients who have difficulty accessing cannabis or cannabis products. The importance of this bill, particularly in the context of California’s history with medicinal cannabis, cannot be understated. It reinstates the pathway for socially conscious businesses to help low-income patients and honor the history of cannabis in this state.
This email is provided as informational only and does not constitute legal advice.
If you have any questions about compassionate use donations, please contact your attorney directly or call our main line at 877-257-2442.