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.