Primary Caregivers

Who qualifies as a primary caregiver?

Under California Law with regards to cannabis, a primary caregiver is an “individual, designated by a qualified patient, who has consistently assumed responsibility for the housing, health, or safety of that patient” (H&S § 11362.7.d – See below for the full definition).

You cannot simply supply marijuana and instruct a patient on its use. Courts have interpreted the line “consistently assume responsibility” to mean that a primary caregiver must:

  • Be consistently providing care-giving, 2) independent of any assistance in taking medical cannabis, 3) at or before the time he/she assumed responsibility for assisting with medical cannabis.

Under almost all circumstances primary caregivers must be over 18.

 

How much cannabis can primary caregivers possess?

Anyone 21 and older in California can possess 28.5 grams or up to 8 grams in concentrates and grow 6 plants.

Primary caregivers with a MMIC may possess 8 oz. of dried marijuana per patient and maintain 6 mature or 12 immature plants per patient (H&S § 11362.77.a).

Primary caregivers may possess more if the qualified patient’s doctor’s recommendation permits larger amounts to meet the patient’s medical needs (H&S § 11362.77.b).

 

Do primary caregivers need Medical Marijuana Identification Cards?

As a caregiver you are qualified to voluntarily apply, in conjunction with the qualified patient you look after, for a medical marijuana identification card (MMIC) issued local branches of the Department of Public Health.

In order to be protected under California Law as a primary caregiver and purchase cannabis tax free, it is highly recommend you possess a MMIC. Without an MMIC you are at risk of being detained and charged for possession even though your actions would otherwise be legal under California law.

For more information on the Medical Marijuana Identification Card Program visit the website here

 

How many patients can one caregiver serve?

A primary caregiver may assist multiple qualified patients as long as those medical marijuana patients are in the same jurisdiction as one another (for example, one patient can’t be in Eureka and another in Emeryville).

A primary caregiver may only assist one qualified patient if they live in a separate jurisdictions.

 

Full definition of primary caregiver:

  • 11362.7 of the California Health and Safety Code

(d) “Primary caregiver” means the individual, designated by a qualified patient, who has consistently assumed responsibility for the housing, health, or safety of that patient, and may include any of the following:

(1) In a case in which a qualified patient or person with an identification card receives medical care or supportive services, or both, from a clinic licensed pursuant to Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 1200) of Division 2, a health care facility licensed pursuant to Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 1250) of Division 2, a residential care facility for persons with chronic life-threatening illness licensed pursuant to Chapter 3.01 (commencing with Section 1568.01) of Division 2, a residential care facility for the elderly licensed pursuant to Chapter 3.2 (commencing with Section 1569) of Division 2, a hospice, or a home health agency licensed pursuant to Chapter 8 (commencing with Section 1725) of Division 2, the owner or operator, or no more than three employees who are designated by the owner or operator, of the clinic, facility, hospice, or home health agency, if designated as a primary caregiver by that qualified patient or person with an identification card.

(2) An individual who has been designated as a primary caregiver by more than one qualified patient or person with an identification card, if every qualified patient or person with an identification card who has designated that individual as a primary caregiver resides in the same city or county as the primary caregiver.

(3) An individual who has been designated as a primary caregiver by a qualified patient or person with an identification card who resides in a city or county other than that of the primary caregiver, if the individual has not been designated as a primary caregiver by any other qualified patient or person with an identification card.

(e) A primary caregiver shall be at least 18 years of age, unless the primary caregiver is the parent of a minor child who is a qualified patient or a person with an identification card or the primary caregiver is a person otherwise entitled to make medical decisions under state law pursuant to Section 6922, 7002, 7050, or 7120 of the Family Code.

 

For a full definition of primary care giver can also be found here

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