The Compassionate Use Act of 1996 (Health & Safety Code Section 11362.5) decriminalized use of marijuana in California for medicinal purposes. Contrary to popular belief, it does not legalize marijuana. As stated by the California Supreme Court: “No state law could completely legalize marijuana for medical purposes because the drug remains illegal under federal law, even for medical users.” Ross v. Ragingwire Telecommunications Inc. (2008). The Compassionate Use Act (CUA) merely provides medical users and their caregivers with an exemption from or defense to criminal liability

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