Adults ages 21 and over now have the legal right to consume cannabis for personal use in California. The same goes for adults ages 18 and over with a pediatric medical marijuana license. Though these laws have liberated us from our natural rights, restrictions still exist when it comes to cannabis in California. By informing yourself and staying up-to-date with these laws, you’re less likely to run into any trouble while consuming cannabis.
Throughout this article, we’re going to break down the most important Californian laws for recreational marijuana users. If you have any further questions, we invite you to ask them at the end.
Possession and Buying Restrictions
Any adult over the age of 21 is allowed to possess, process, transport, purchase, or give away up to 1 ounce of cannabis flower and up to 8 ounces of cannabis concentrate.
Those in possession of cannabis can only purchase it from a licensed cannabis retail store or receive it (without sale) from another person. If you’re caught either selling cannabis or purchasing cannabis from someone without a license, it could result in a felony charge.
When cannabis is legally purchased, you must show an authentic government-issued photo ID as a means of providing your age at the time of purchase.
Cannabis possession is allowed in public spaces, but it must be carried in a childproof package or a case that shields it from public view. Luckily, licensed cannabis dispensaries will provide you with this container upon purchase.
California cannabis laws concerning possession vary when it comes to medical patients as they hold a specific prescription that must be followed.
California Cannabis Laws for Usage Limits
Cannabis consumption is restricted to two specific areas:
- Private residences – more specifically, enclosed structures on the property of private residences
- Properly licensed cannabis lounges
You are not allowed to consume cannabis within a public area. This includes all of the following consumption methods:
- Ingesting (through an edible or tincture)
Cannabis is also prohibited from being consumed in the following spaces:
- Any public area
- Tobacco-free zones
- Within 1,000 feet of a children’s facility (school, daycare, youth community center). If you have private property within 1,000 feet of a children’s facility, you are only allowed to consume cannabis on that property and out of public view.
California Cannabis D.U.I. Laws
Just like alcohol, it’s illegal to drive under the influence after you have consumed marijuana. Since laws are still new, law enforcement doesn’t have a single method to charge someone with a cannabis DUI – such as a breathalyzer for alcohol DUIs.
However, a police officer can still charge you based on the following:
- Driving behavior (failing to stop at a stop sign, swerving, etc.)
- Field sobriety test performance
- Seeing marijuana in your vehicle
- Smelling marijuana from you or your vehicle
Penalties for a marijuana DUI are similar to those of an alcohol DUI. First-time offenders may be charged with the following:
- 3 to 5 years summary or informal probation
- 3 months of obligatory DUI education classes
- A maximum fine of $1,000.
- A maximum of 6 months of jail time.
- Driver’s license suspension for up to 6 months.
Penalities will increase with consecutive marijuana DUI offenses.
California Cannabis Laws for Transporting Cannabis
Similar to possession laws, an adult over the age of 21 is allowed to transport upwards of 1 ounce of cannabis flower and up to 8 grams of cannabis concentrate in their vehicle.
It’s important to note that cannabis packages must be kept closed, in a child-proof container, and out of the driver’s reach. Penalties and fines are applicable for drivers who don’t follow these rules.
However, if you hold a proper cannabis license for delivery, these rules don’t necessarily apply to you.
Still, it’s both illegal on a federal and California state level to export cannabis across state lines. This remains true even if you’re traveling into another state where cannabis is legal.
Cultivation: Personal and Professional
In accordance with California marijuana laws, any Califonia resident ages 21 and over are allowed to grow and possess up to 6 cannabis plants within their private residence. These plants must be harvested in an area that’s closed off on all sides and hidden from public view.
If you own a cannabis growers license, you have the legal right to grow more than this limit. However, it’s important to keep in mind that you must renew your license on a regular basis in order to continue growing cannabis for commercial sales.
California Medical Marijuana Laws
Since cannabis has been legalized for adult-use, most people assume there’s no reason to get a medical marijuana card anymore. However, have a medical card comes with perks other people may overlook. These include:
- The ability to possess larger quantities of cannabis (some prescription cardholders are allowed up to 8 ounces of cannabis flower).
- The ability to possess larger quantities of cannabis plants (some prescription cardholders are allowed up to 6 mature cannabis plants or 12 immature cannabis plants).
In order to obtain a card, you must visit a licensed practician who has the legal right to prescribe you with a medical marijuana identification card. Common diagnoses for those with a medical card include (but aren’t limited to):
- Chronic pain
- Persistent muscle spasms
- Severe Nausea
For the most part, you’re allowed a medical marijuana card if you have a chronic or persistent medical symptom that has limited your quality of life and/or causes a great deal of physical or mental harm.
How to Apply for a Medical Marijuana Card
If you’re interested in applying for a medical marijuana card, you must fill out the necessary documentation form from the California Department of Health.
In addition to this document, it’s beneficial to provide your physician with the Written Documentation of Patient’s Medical Records form. This will show provide any medical professionals involved with all the information concerning your medical diagnosis.
Once you have these forms ready, you can turn them into your county’s Medical Marijuana Identification Card program. Though fees vary, they are not allowed to exceed $100. Furthermore, if you qualify for Medi-Cal benefits, you can receive up to 50% off.
It’s worthy to note that some pediatric patients are able to get a medical marijuana card when their legal guardian is able to obtain one on their behalf.
The History of California Cannabis Laws
California cannabis laws have a unique history that truly shows the power people have when they all agree on a vote.
It all initially started in 1996, when California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana under the Compassionate Use Act. Under this law, qualified patients were allowed to possess and harvest cannabis for medical reasons.
Things remained stagnant for almost 20 years but in 2015, the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act was passed. This allowed for structure within the medical marijuana industry. Particularly, it created 3 important licensing authorities:
- The Bureau of Cannabis Control
- The CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing
- The Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch
These three authorities would prove beneficial in 2016 when California voters decided to pass the Adult Use of Marijuana Act. The law that legalized possession and consumption of marijuana for anyone over the age of 21.
Still have questions concerning cannabis laws in California?
We invite you to ask them in the comments section below. If you have any further information you’d like to share, we’d also love to hear from you.