Proposition 215 (or the Compassionate Use Act of 1996) is a California law concerning the use of medical cannabis. It was enacted, on November 5, 1996, by means of the initiative process, and passed with 5,382,915 (55.6%) votes in favor and 4,301,960 (44.4%) against.

The proposition was a state-wide voter initiative authored by Dennis Peron, Anna Boyce [RN], Valerie Corral [1], Dale Gieringer, William Panzer, Scott Imler[2], and psychiatrist Tod H. Mikuriya, and approved by California voters. It allows patients with a valid doctor's recommendation, and the patient's designated Primary Caregivers, to possess and cultivate marijuana for personal medical use, and has since been expanded to protect a growing system of collective and cooperative distribution. The Act added Section 11362.5 to the California Health and Safety Code. This law has caused much conflict in the United States between states' rights advocates and those who support a stronger federal presence.

Health & Safety Code 11362.5 — Proposition 215

§11362.5. Use of marijuana for medical purposes.

(a) This section shall be known and may be cited as the Compassionate Use Act of 1996.

(b)(l) The people of the State of California hereby find and declare that the purposes of the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 are as follows:

(A) To ensure that seriously ill Californians have the right to obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes where that medical use is deemed appropriate and has been recommended by a physician who has determined that the person's health would benefit from the use of marijuana in the treatment of cancer, anorexia, AIDS, chronic pain, spasticity, glaucoma, arthritis, migraine, or any other illness for which marijuana provides relief.

(B) To ensure that patients and their primary care-givers who obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes upon the recommendation of a physician are not subject to criminal prosecution or sanction.

(C), To encourage the federal and state governments to implement a plan to provide for the safe and affordable distribution of marijuana to all patients in medical need of marijuana.

(2) Nothing in this section shall be construed to supersede legislation prohibiting persons from engaging in conduct that endangers others, nor to condone the diversion of marijuana for nonmedical purposes.

(c) Notwithstanding any other provision of law: no physician in this state shall be punished, or denied any right or privilege, for having recommended marijuana to a patient for medical purposes.

(d) Section 11357, relating to the possession of marijuana, and Section 11358, relating to the cultivation of marijuana, shall not apply to a patient, or to a patient's primary caregiver, who possesses or cultivates marijuana for the personal medical purposes of the patient upon the written or oral recommendation or approval of a physician.

(e) For the purposes of this section, "primary care-giver" means the individual designated by the person exempted under this section who has consistently assumed responsibility for the housing, health, or safety of that person. (Added by 1996 initiative Measure Prop 215 §1, eff.: 11/6/96.)

California Senate Bill 420

California Senate Bill 420 (colloquially known as the Medical Marijuana Program Act)[1] was a bill introduced by John Vasconcellos of the California State Senate, and subsequently passed by the California State Legislature and signed by Governor Gray Davis in 2003 "pursuant to the powers reserved to the State of California and its people under the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution."[2] It clarified the scope and application of California Proposition 215, also known as the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, and established the California medical marijuana program. The bill's title is notable because "420" is a common phrase used in cannabis culture.