California Proposition 215, also known as the “Compassionate Use Act” was a California ballot measure authored by Dennis Peron and passed in November 1996. 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 a section to the California Health and Safety Code regarding medicinal use of cannabis.
The California State Senate Bill 420, also known as the “Medical Marijuana Program Act” is a bill passed by the state legislature and signed by Gov. Gray Davis in 2003. It clarified the scope and application of California Proposition 215, and established the Medical Marijuana Program here in the state. Effectively, SB420 recognizes the right of patients and caregivers to associate collectively or cooperatively to cultivate medical marijuana. It also protects patients and caregivers from arrest for transportation and other miscellaneous charges not covered in 215 and it implemented a mandatory county health department issued i.d. card program.