The California legislature adopted SAN’s patient guideline allowing 100-square foot canopy personal medical cannabis gardens

Safe Access Now logo scale plant tape measure

Safe Access Now was formed by Chris Conrad and Ralph Sherrow in 2001 to promote a guideline standard of 100 square feet of cannabis garden canopy plus three pounds of processed bud as a safe harbor for medical patient’s personal use, launch a county-by-county effort and ultimately get the state of California to adopt it.

In 2003 the legislature passed SB 420 with HS 11362.77(a), a safe harbor  of 6 mature or 12 immature plants plus eight ounces of processed bud, which went into effect in 2004.

In 2008, the state Supreme Court laid out the People v Kelly decision, citing cannabis expert witness testimony by Chris Conrad. It held that the legislature could not limit the quantity that a patient could grow but likewise the amount has to be reasonable. We have continued to advocate that 100 square feet is a reasonable baseline for cultivation and three pounds for personal possession for medical use.

In 2015 Assembly Bill AB 243, the legislature adopted a 100 square foot canopy standard for personal medical gardens and HS 11362.777(g)  for informal “primary caregiver” collectives up to five members. While there is much about the measure to dislike, including its inclusion of local bans and destruction of the HS 11362.775 collectives that built up California’s medical marijuana industry, we are proud that the bill’s sponsors were able to understand the importance of allowing patients to grow their personal medical supply as ordained by Prop 215, HS 11362.5. Please join us in fighting for the right of patients to band together rather than requiring a primary caregiver relationship. Contact your state legislators and tell them that patients need to be enabled to provide cannabis for one another, not all patients have caregivers.

The logic for using 100 square feet as a canopy measurement in setting reasonable quantities for medical use is explained in the book, Cannabis Yields and Dosage, by Chris Conrad. It was originally developed in coalition with the Sonoma Alliance for Medical Marijuana during negotiations with the county’s district attorney.

For more information on the Safe Access Now project, follow this link:

HS 11362.777 (g) This section does not apply to a qualified patient cultivating marijuana pursuant to Section 11362.5 if the area he or she uses to cultivate marijuana does not exceed 100 square feet and he or she cultivates marijuana for his or her personal medical use and does not sell, distribute, donate, or provide marijuana to any other person or entity. This section does not apply to a primary caregiver cultivating marijuana pursuant to Section 11362.5 if the area he or she uses to cultivate marijuana does not exceed 500 square feet and he or she cultivates marijuana exclusively for the personal medical use of no more than five specified qualified patients for whom he or she is the primary caregiver within the meaning of Section 11362.7 and does not receive remuneration for these activities, except for compensation provided in full compliance with subdivision (c) of Section 11362.765. For purposes of this section, the area used to cultivate marijuana shall be measured by the aggregate area of vegetative growth of live marijuana plants on the premises. Exemption from the requirements of this section does not limit or prevent a city, county, or city and county from regulating or banning the cultivation, storage, manufacture, transport, provision, or other activity by the exempt person, or impair the enforcement of that regulation or ban.