Q: How do you know if an evaluation clinic is operating legally?

A. There are several things to look for; some are documentable and some are generalizations but certainly this is a guide.

1. Check with the California Medical Board to make sure that the doctor you see has a current license. Here is the link:

Q: I do not want to smoke my medicine. What are my options?

A: Medical marijuana is a versatile medicine that is used by patients across the country to alleviate the side effects and symptoms of countless medical conditions, including cancer, HIV. AIDS, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma and more. Many new patients wonder how to medicate with marijuana or how to take marijuana. There are several ways to medicate with marijuana:

  • Inhalation: Smoking
  • Inhalation: Vaporizing
  • Marijuana Edibles
  • Cannabis Tinctures
  • Cannabis Topical Solutions

Q: Can patients with a state medical marijuana permit travel out-of-state with cannabis?

A: Nevada, Arizona, Montana, and Michigan have reciprocity in their medical marijuana laws. With so many states now allowing Medical or recreational cannabis, please check the state where you are planning to travel.

Q: Where can I find a cannabis cooperative, collective, dispensary or delivery service?

A: Check at Calnorml.com: http://listings.canorml.org/medical-marijuana-collectives-dispensaries-and-delivery-services-in-california/

You can also check at Weedmaps.com: https://weedmaps.com/

Q: Can I legally grow medical marijuana to sell?

A: A patient can grow as much as they need for their own personal use. You cannot grow it to sell to dispensaries.

Q: Do I need a Riverside County or San Bernardino County Medical Marijuana I.D. card?

A: They are voluntary, but may protect you better from arrest. If you are dealing with the legal system, for example Child Protective Services (CPS), the Parole Board, or Family Court, or if you are applying for a job, it might be wise to get your local county I.D. card through the Board of Health. It just gives a little extra weight and credibility for you if needed. Also, this card will allow you to save taxes that the recreational people have to pay.

Q: Can employers and others access my medical marijuana recommendation or I.D. card information?

A: No. The state I.D. card system has safeguards to protect patient privacy. Patient names and addresses are not kept in the state’s data base; the only information retained is a personal photo and ID number. The privacy of medical records is protected by federal HIPPA laws. However, if you’re drug tested, a medical marijuana recommendation won’t protect you (see next FAQ).

Q: I get drug tested at my job. Can I use medical marijuana?

A: Not necessarily. The California Supreme Court ruled that employers can discriminate against medical marijuana users. The legislature passed a bill to change that in 2008, but Gov. Schwarzenegger vetoed it. This bill is being brought up again and hopefully Gov. Brown will sign it.

Q. Can I take my medical marijuana on a plane?

A: Some airports, like Los Angeles and Oakland, are respectful of patients’ rights, but others like Arcata and Burbank aren’t. If you’re flying out of California, check for reciprocity with other state’s laws.

Q. Can I use medical marijuana on federal land in California?

A: Medical marijuana patients are not protected while on federal park land or forest land in California. CalNORML has received reports of campers and those driving through federal land who are searched, charged with federal possession statutes, and had their medicine confiscated. A California medical recommendation is not a defense in federal court to these charges.

Q. Is hashish covered under the medical marijuana laws?

Qualified patients can use and make hashish legally under state law. However, the Bergen decision (2008) determined that using butane to make hash oil is not covered by the medical use statutes. California Health and Safety Code Section 11379.6(a) makes it unlawful to engage in the chemical extraction of a substance as part of the process of manufacturing a controlled substance. The charge carries a prison sentence of 3 to 7 years and a fine of up to $50,000. Several fires have been reported due to BHO extraction. It is unsafe and illegal.

Q. Can I use medical marijuana while on probation or parole?

A: Yes, unless the judge specifies that you cannot under the terms of your probation, which you may appeal. You can request that the judge affirm your use of medical marijuana or modify the terms of your probation to allow medical marijuana use. (See Section 11362.795 of SB420.) People v. Tilehkooh established that it is state, not federal law that governs this question.

Q. Can I grow or use medical marijuana with children in the house?

A: There is nothing in state law against this. However, keep your medical marijuana away from children. Make sure that you don’t leave edibles around where kids can get them, and keep gardens away from where they play.

In rare cases, Child Protective Services has become involved, mostly in cases with large plant numbers, evidence of sales, neglect, or messy divorce proceedings. In such cases, CPS tends not to be understanding about medical marijuana and can always allege child endangerment.

Q. Can I own or buy a gun with a medical marijuana card?

A: The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms sent letters to gun dealers in 2011 warning them they could not sell to known medical marijuana users. When buying a gun, you may be asked whether you are a user of illegal drugs and/or medical marijuana.

Answering yes makes you ineligible to purchase; falsely answering no is in principle punishable as perjury. This should not affect current gun owners. Although California law does not prohibit medical marijuana users from having guns, using a gun in connection with an offense such as cultivation or possession with sale can result in additional criminal charges. Users are advised to keep their guns in a location that is separate from their marijuana.

Q. Can I lose my housing if I use or grow medical marijuana?

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has stated that local housing authorities can determine their own policies regarding medical marijuana use in HUD housing. We suggest contacting a local NORML attorney about your housing rights.

Landlords may make conditions on tenancy that exclude medical marijuana cultivation or use. Often, they need to be educated about the law; you can show them our Patient’s Rights to Medical Marijuana pamphlet and explain that you are legal under state law. Vaporizing or using edibles can be a solution to issues of smells that annoy neighbors.