Proposition 215, also known as the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, was a California ballot proposition that legalized the medical use of marijuana. It was approved by California voters on November 5, 1996, and became the first state law in the United States to allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes.
Proposition 215 allowed individuals with a valid doctor's recommendation to use marijuana for the treatment of specified medical conditions. The law provided protections for patients and caregivers who possessed or cultivated marijuana for medical purposes. It also allowed for the formation of medical marijuana collectives or cooperatives to collectively cultivate and distribute marijuana to qualified patients.
The passage of Proposition 215 in California had a significant impact on the medical marijuana movement, sparking a wave of similar laws in other states across the United States. It laid the foundation for the development of the medical marijuana industry and paved the way for subsequent efforts to legalize marijuana for medical and recreational use in various states.
It's important to note that while Proposition 215 legalized medical marijuana in California under state law, marijuana remained illegal under federal law. However, the federal government has generally taken a hands-off approach when it comes to enforcing federal marijuana laws in states that have legalized it for medical or recreational purposes, particularly if those states have implemented robust regulatory frameworks.