Gay Desert Hot Springs

VETERANS COMPASSION NETWORK

Posted on June 1, 2022

PROVIDING STATE-LEGAL, COMPASSIONATE CANNABIS DONATIONS IN CALIFORNIA SINCE MARCH 2020

Background

The passage of ballot initiative Proposition 64 in California in 2016 legalizing adult-use cannabis consumption, production, and sale created the largest single cannabis legal cannabis market in the world. But for the estimated 1.9 million medical cannabis patients in the state, adult-use cannabis meant: the disappearance of thousands of dispensaries, manufactures, and farmers; a significant increase in legal prices as the cost of new regulation was passed down to patients; and a “drying up” of unaccountable gifts from growers and others in the cannabis community. While the new law carried many benefits for patients like being able to legally cultivate six plants as well as effectively decriminalizing adult possession, the loss of physical access and the drop in affordability negatively impacted many.

SB-34, the Dennis Peron and Brownie Mary Act

Originally passed by the California state legislature in late 2018, only to be vetoed by departing Governor Jerry Brown, the Dennis Peron and Brownie Mary Act set out to create a way for licensed cannabis operators to be able to donate to medical patients without being having to pay taxes on the donated items. The bill was reintroduced by Senator Scott Wiener with the backing of Team Compassion, a group of advocates and industry members, and passed in 2019. The law went into effect on March 2020, and since then members of Team Compassion—including the Sweetleaf Collective, Weed for Warriors Project, and Operation EVAC, who had previously organized donations under the state’s medical cannabis law, as well as long-standing compassionate industry donors like Santa Cruz Veterans Alliance—have set the standard in supporting communities of veterans and patients.

Veterans Compassion Network

The Veterans Cannabis Coalition, in partnership with Kannabis Works, a licensed dispensary in Santa Ana, CA, launched the first site of the Veterans Compassion Network on March 1, 2020. Since then, the program has disbursed tens of thousands of dollars of donated medicinal cannabis products to registered veteran medical patients.