I am not a lawyer so this is simply my informed opinion.
The laws about cannabis in the United States and in California are complicated. On the federal level, the ‘law’ is simple. Cannabis is a schedule 1 narcotic which means that it has absolutely no medicinal value and that it is extremely addictive. Both of these statements are ‘patently’ false. It is fascinating that the U.S. patent office (an official government agency) has issued several patents for the medicinal benefits associated with various cannabinoids in treating pain and neurological disorders. As for addiction, as a long time user of cannabis for glaucoma and a drinker of coffee beverages, coffee is much more difficult to do without on any given day.
In the state of California the voters first asserted the medical benefits of cannabis and a “qualified patient’s” right to access cannabis with the passage of proposition 215 in 1996. This created a huge grey area in how law enforcement interpreted this ‘right’. It also allowed local government to regulate where or even if cannabis could be cultivated within their jurisdictions. In 2004 senate bill 420 clarified that patients and caregivers could form collectives in order to be able to provide cannabis to their qualified patients.
All of California law supporting cannabis has been very clear that all cannabis must be not for profit and is strongly against any money changing hands. However, in 2016, the governor signed into law three different bills that together are known today as the “Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act” (MCRSA). This is the first attempt to create a legal, regulated business environment for the multi billion dollar ‘grey area’ ‘not-for-profit’ ‘medicinal’ cannabis industry that is happening already in California. Also in 2016, the voters passed proposition 64, known as the ‘ Adult Use of Marijuana Act’ (AUMA) which legalizes adult use and possession of small quantities of cannabis. Both MCRSA and AUMA are very complex and it will take some time for state regulators to sort out how these laws will play out in the real world. Both of them do allow for profit work with cannabis.
On the local level we here in Nevada County, California have had a very spirited discussion over the last few years about how our local jurisdictions will relate to these new laws. As it stands here locally now, (January of 2017) no cannabis business is legally allowed. As a result of this development we here at the House of Harlequin have focused on education and activism. We hope for a well regulated small scale artisanal medical cannabis industry that allows for the full spectrum of cannabis in county. This would include cultivation, processing, manufacturing, and dispensing to end users.
I must point out again, these are just my opinions. I am not a lawyer, please educate yourself on the law that applies to your jurisdiction.