California Marijuana Laws
In November 2016, California passed Proposition 64, the Adult Use Marijuana Act (AUMA), legalizing recreational marijuana use for adults 21 years of age or older. On January 1, 2018, California began its first day of adult-use cannabis sales, making recreational dispensaries officially open to the public.
Those who are 21 years or older are able to possess up to 28.5 grams (g) of marijuana flower and up to 8 grams (g) of marijuana concentrate. Additionally, adults are allowed to possess up to six living cannabis plants within their private residence.
As long as you are 21 years or older and possess a government-issued identification to prove you are 21 years or older, you have a constitutional right to possess and consume marijuana in California.
A qualified medical patient or primary caregiver may possess no more than eight ounces.
Under AUMA, adults 21 years of age or older with a valid, government-issued ID are able to purchase up to 28.5 grams (g) of marijuana flower and up to 8 grams (g) of marijuana concentrate. Medical users can purchase up to 8 oz. of cannabis daily. Where to Buy
Qualifying conditions for participation in the state’s Medical Marijuana Identification Card Program (MMICP) are:
- cachexia (wasting syndrome)
- chronic pain
- persistent muscle spasms (e.g. spasms associated with multiple sclerosis)
- seizures (e.g. epileptic seizures)
- severe nausea
- Any other chronic or persistent medical symptom that either substantially limits a person’s ability to conduct one of more of major life activities as defined in the federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, or if not alleviated, may cause serious harm to the person’s safety, physical, or mental health.
A person with a qualifying condition does not need to be a resident of California to obtain a medical marijuana registration. Anyone in the state, resident or visitor, may apply for a card, and if granted, will be afforded the protections of a cardholder. However, with one exception: out-of-state residents will still be charged taxes on medical marijuana the same way that adult-use consumers are. It’s unclear if this is specifically in the ruleset, but dispensaries will enforce it nonetheless and charge taxes to non-resident cardholders. Get Your Card
As with other states that have passed measures to legalize recreational marijuana, there are several restrictions on consumption. Under AUMA, marijuana consumption is housed under one term, “Smoke.” To smoke refers to inhaling, burning or carrying a lighted/heated device/pipe intended for inhalation. Please note that electronic devices such as vaporizers or aerosols, and even ingesting all fall under this same category. Essentially, there is no circumvention of the law when it comes to cannabis consumption in a prohibited place, so always be sure to follow the law accordingly.
First and foremost, you are NOT allowed to consume legal cannabis in the following places:
- ANY public place or area
- ANY location where tobacco smoking is prohibited
- Within 1,000 feet of a school, youth center or day care where children are present while not inside the confines of a private residence (If you are at a private residence WITHIN 1,000 feet of a school/day care/youth center, you may consume ONLY if the smoking is undetectable to the surrounding area)
You ARE able to consume legal cannabis in any of the following places
- Private residences
- Accessory structures located on the grounds of a private residence that is enclosed & secure from the public
- Outdoors on a private residence so long as the city/county the residence is located in does not prohibit such action
Driving Under the Influence
Even though recreational cannabis may be legal, please be aware that driving under the influence of marijuana is still very illegal. In fact, since the passing of AUMA, many people believe that law enforcement will dedicate increased time and manpower to enforcing canna-DUI laws.
To be clear, ANY instance of driving under the influence of marijuana is deemed unlawful by the California state government and law enforcement. Penalties for marijuana DUIs can range anywhere from informal probation, fines/license suspension or even jail time. Similar to that of alcohol DUIs, penalties increase with each conviction.
Clearly the risks associated with driving high far outweigh the rewards, so consume your cannabis responsibly and legally at all times.
Adults 21 years of age or older are allowed to transport up to 28.5 grams (g) of marijuana flower and up to 8 grams (g) of marijuana concentrate. To legally transport marijuana, it must be kept in a child-proof container out of direct reach of the driver.
It is NOT legal to transport an open package or container of marijuana/marijuana products. This rule goes for all passengers in the vehicle. Additionally, passengers of a vehicle are prohibited from smoking inside of the vehicle.
Exporting marijuana across state lines, whether driven or through the mail, is illegal in the state of California (Even if the state you are exporting to has legalized recreational cannabis).
Under AUMA, California residents are able to possess and cultivate up to 6 living marijuana plants. Additionally, only 6 plants are allowed per residence at a given time.
Marijuana plants must be kept in a locked space that is not visible to the public, and any marijuana product resulting from the plant that exceeds 28.5 grams (g) must be kept secure within the private residence of the grower. Learn to Grow
California legalized marijuana for recreational use in 2016. We offer practical information about marijuana laws and legal issues for those planning a trip or vacation to San Francisco or California.
LEARN | LAWS & REGULATIONS
Is weed legal in California?
The short answer is yes. Adults 21 and over can legally consume weed for medical or recreational purposes.
California voters passed Proposition 215 , or the Compassionate Use Act, in 1996. Proposition 215 allowed patients and caregivers to possess and cultivate marijuana for medical use. It was the first medical marijuana ballot initiative in the U.S. to pass at the state level. Senate Bill 420 , notable for its number, clarified the mandate and implementation of Proposition 215 in 2003.
California voters passed the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, or Proposition 64, on November 8, 2016. It established sales and cultivation taxes and legalized the sale, possession, growing, and consumption of cannabis for adults 21 and older for non-medical purposes.
The legislature addressed some of the problems Prop 64 inadvertently caused when it passed the Medicinal and Adult Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act ( MAUCRSA ) in June 2017. It went into effect on January 1, 2018, simplifying licensing requirements and clarifying medical marijuana rules. It also set up a single regulatory entity to oversee both medical and recreational cannabis operations in the state: the Bureau of Cannabis Control ( BCC ). It also gave some oversight powers to the state’s agriculture and public health departments.
MAUCRSA established all of the regulatory laws and procedures for commercial medical and adult-use cannabis in California. It granted the Bureau of Cannabis Control primary oversight and licensing powers for the medical and recreational markets, though it has help from two other agencies.
The California Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch regulates commercial cannabis manufacturing to assure safe production and contaminant-free cannabis with packaging that meets state standards. The California Department of Agriculture’s CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing (CAL) division licenses and regulates cultivators and runs the state’s seed-to-sale tracking system.
Where is it safe to purchase?
Adults 21 and older may purchase marijuana from any state-licensed dispensary, regardless of patient status. Delivery services are available throughout the state.
California adult-use purchases include a 35% to 45% net effective tax, which includes excise, retail, and cultivation taxes. Local governments can add an unlimited cannabis business tax as well. The tax revenue is used to fund law enforcement , the administrative and regulatory costs of administering the program, research, and education.
Under Proposition 64, however, medical marijuana patients who present a valid medical marijuana identification card do not have to pay the sales and use tax when making retail purchases of medical cannabis, concentrates, edibles, or topical products. The California Department of Public Health lists counties that participate in the California Medical Marijuana Identification Card Program .
Where is it safe to consume?
Cannabis consumption must take place in a private space . Onsite consumption is permitted inside businesses or spaces that hold a commercial cannabis consumption license. Smoking or vaping in a designated non-smoking area is an infraction.
Consumption in a motor vehicle is not allowed , neither while driving nor while riding as passengers. Even having an open container of cannabis in a car is not allowed. Riding a bicycle under the influence of cannabis also is illegal.
Adults 21 or older can buy and possess up to 1 ounce, or 28.35 grams, of cannabis, and up to 8 grams of cannabis concentrate. Adults also may participate in California’s home cultivation program. Adults without a valid qualifying physician’s recommendation are allowed to grow a maximum of six plants, regardless of maturity level.
Under MAUCRSA, medical cannabis patients and their caregivers can possess and transport up to 8 ounces, or 226.8 grams, of dried cannabis or concentrates and up to six mature plants, or 12 immature plants.
Legal consumers can carry cannabis in their vehicles, but it must be in a sealed container or in the trunk.
Adults may transfer or give up to 1 ounce, or 28.35 grams, of dried cannabis and 8 grams of cannabis concentrates to another adult 21 or older. Patients and their caregivers should not give away or transfer medical marijuana.
View the marijuana laws & regulations for California.