23 Legal States

California Medical Marijuana Facts

California Medical Marijuana Statistics and Marijuana Facts

California became the first state with a medical marijuana program after voters passed proposition 215 in 1996. The original law removed penalties for possession of marijuana if the patients had a written or oral doctor’s recommendation. In 2004, Senate Bill 420 set up an optional medical marijuana card registry for California patients and attempted to define how much cannabis patients could grow or possess. Although these guidelines state that there is a possession limit of 8 ounces per patient or caregiver, the California Supreme Court has affirmed that a patient may in fact posses marijuana up to whatever is “the amount needed for a patient’s personal use” as determined by their doctor.

California Marijuana Facts 2011:

  • At its peak, it was estimated that there were over 2000 dispensaries in the state, however, after recent crackdowns by federal officials, that number is said to be rapidly decreasing, with roughly 20% of dispensaries closing in just the last 3 months of 2011.
  • The California Department of Public Health has issued 57,610 marijuana cards to date but, because of the optional nature of the program, this is only a small fraction of medical marijuana patients. The most recent estimates by NORML place the true number at over 750,000 patients.
  • There are 5932 registered caregivers in California.
  • San Francisco County has the highest number of registered patients at 17812, roughly 30% of the state’s total. Marin County is the next highest, at 4841 patients, followed by Alameda (3918), Riverside (3775) and Los Angeles (3609).

Marijuana Statistics and Facts: Marijuana Cards by Year

Fiscal Year

Marijuana Cards Issued

2005

85

2006

4150

2007

10274

2008

8355

2009

9219

2010

12659

2011

10309

2012

2559

 Marijuana Statistics and Facts: Registered Patients (Top 15)

County

Marijuana Cards Issued

San Francisco

17812

Marin

4841

Alameda

3918

Riverside

3775

Los Angeles

3609

Mendocino

2598

San Mateo

2348

Humbolt

1909

Sonoma

1667

Santa Clara

1598

Orange

1514

San Diego

1446

Santa Barbara

1072

Contra Costa

1032

San Bernadino

1021