CBD Store in Sherman Oaks, CA Celebrates Prop 215 Anniversary
The Higher Path recognizes the 25th anniversary of prop 215 on Friday, Nov. 5, 2021. Also known as the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, California's proposition 215 is a law that permits the use of the plant for medical purposes.
The law allowed the growing and selling of the plant in California. Before this, the plant's cultivation, use, distribution, or possession for personal or medical reasons was prohibited and considered a criminal offense.
The proposition inspired a movement that has seen over 30 more states adopting a similar law.
According to The Higher Path, Friday was not an ordinary celebration: it was a day to recognize progress and challenges. However, the progress over the past quarter of a century is something that can't go unnoticed.
"This is a way for us to take a step back and look at how far we've come in the past 25 years," said The Higher Path Marketing Director, an advocate for Prop 215. "It's safe to say that without Prop 215, things may have been quite different. With further development of technology, genetic engineering, and more research on medical uses for the plant, it's possible that Prop 215 will not just be looked at as a turning point in history but as the catalyst for change on a global scale," they explained.
California State Laws Before 1996
Prior to the Prop 215 law being enacted, people suffering from medical conditions that could be treated by the plant were forced to risk their freedom and the well-being of their loved ones whenever they wanted to use the plant.
Growing, possessing, transporting, and using it for personal use was considered a criminal offense. The fines or jail time varied depending on several factors, such as quantity.
For instance, in 1971, the infamous Controlled Substances Act (CSA) regulated the manufacture, import, use, possession, and distribution of certain drugs and substances. The law allowed life sentences for repeat drug offenders.
However, in 1996, a movement wanted to stop the arrest of cancer and HIV patients growing or using the plant for medical purposes.
Since California's Prop 215 law was enacted, hundreds of thousands of people have had access to a medicine that is both safe and effective.
Prop 215 provided patients with options that weren't available before. Here is what has happened ever since:
1996-2004: The Plant is Legal, But selling is Illegal
Before 2004, the plant was legal, but it was illegal to have it at any store—which didn't exist at the time. What's more, the number of arrests increased after passing the act. State police carried out raids where they arrested people.
In Oct 2003, Governor Gray Davis signed the "medical task force" bill or SB 420. The State Department of Health Services launched a voluntary program to issue ID cards to people who needed the plant for medical purposes.
In the same year, the Supreme Court of the United States dismissed a federal government appeal that sought to limit physicians' ability to provide authorizations for the use of the plant medicine. The Court's decision made it clear that doctors can't be held accountable for necessary recommendations—that positively affected patients' health.
2004-2010: Plant Stores Are Legal but Are Still Raided
Through the SB 420 bill, qualified patients and their caregivers were protected under state law. This removed the risk of arrest for those who wanted to cultivate the plant, but it wasn't until 2008 that many cities began to approve dispensaries.
2010-2015: Efforts to Legalize the Plant for Recreational Use Begin
In 2010, Prop. 19 attempted to legalize the possession of small amounts of the plant for recreational use and establish regulation and taxation.
The bill would have allowed people who are 21 years or older to cultivate small amounts of the plant. However, it would not have permitted the sale of the plant in retail outlets.
However, the bill failed to pass, except for San Francisco—where it won by a very slim margin. Colorado and Washington's voters were the first to approve statewide use of the plant.
2016-Present: Allowed for Recreational Use
Thanks to Proposition 64, the plant was later legalized for recreational use. Other than possession, this included the distribution and growing of plants. The act was passed in November 2016
In general, California's Proposition 215 led to Proposition 64 that lets California residents' access and use the plant whenever they want.
Appreciate Where We Are
Everyone agrees that the fight isn't over. The bill has made a lot of progress, but it's still not enough. That's because we are still witnessing arrests by state police.
For instance, in 2018, there were more arrests related to the plant compared to 2017 and 2016—even after Proposition 64. That is why The Higher Path wants everyone to remember how far the movement has gone and what the industry still must achieve.
The Higher Path in Los Angeles has been in support of the movement since it opened in 2013.
The store joined the larger community to appreciate the progress achieved so far: "It is an honor and a privilege to celebrate this pivotal milestone with all our community," said the Marketing Director of The Higher Path.
"We are excited that Prop. 215 is now part of California law. We do appreciate and thank everyone who has played a role in where we are today. The Higher Path will continue to fight to make sure everyone, especially patients, have access to the plant in a safe and friendly environment." they explained.