outline of the state of California with a cannabis leaf

Recreational and medical marijuana are both legal in California with medical legalized in 1998 and recreational legalized in 2016. Read on to learn more about California's current marijuana laws and where you can find a marijuana dispensary in your area.

Cannabis Products Legal to Purchase in California

What you need to know about California’s Cannabis Laws

  • Both recreational and medical marijuana are legal in the state of California for adults aged 21 and older
  • California is home to over 600 marijuana dispensaries located across the state
  • It is legal to possess up to 28.5 grams of marijuana and up to 8 grams of cannabis concentrates for adults aged 21 and older
  • California dispensaries do not accept out of state medical cards but out of state medical marijuana patients can purchase up to an ounce per day of recreational marijuana during their time in the state
  • It is legal to cultivate up to six plants per household - medical patients or caregivers may grow above the six plant limit if it is recommended by their physician
  • Currently in California use of marijuana in public places is prohibited

California Recreational Marijuana Laws

Marijuana was legalized for use by adults over the age of 21 in 2016. If you live in California or are visiting the state, you may carry up to 28.5 grams marijuana as well as up to 8 grams of cannabis concentrates. Residents of California growing marijuana are legally permitted to grow up to six plants. Residents growing more than six plants could face a misdemeanor charge and up to six months in jail and up to a $500 fine.

Despite recreational marijuana being legalized in 2016, the regulatory system was not developed until 2017. By 2018, recreational dispensaries and delivery services could begin selling recreational marijuana directly to adults over the age of 21. Check out the city map links below to find the closest recreational or medical dispensary near you.

California Medical Marijuana Laws

Since 1996 doctors in California have been able to prescribe marijuana for their patients. In 2003, a statewide ID card program was established for medical patients. There are currently no limits on how much marijuana medical patients can possess, physicians can prescribe marijuana consistent with a patient’s needs. Both medical patients and recreational users are legally allowed to grow up to six plants per household.

Medical marijuana patients must renew their medical card annually.

How to get your Medical Marijuana Card in California

Residents of California have a few options when it comes to getting a medical card in California. You could meet with a physician in personal or video chat online to discuss your symptoms and determine if medical marijuana is the best option for you. Approved patients will be issued a letter and ID code that registers with the California Medical Marijuana Program. In California, patients can also apply for county-issued medical marijuana ID cards.

Timeline of Marijuana Legislation in California

Timeline of Marijuana Legislation in California

Additional Marijuana Laws to be Aware of in California

Public use or consumption of marijuana is illegal in California. This includes sporting and music venues, state and national parks, campsites, bars, restaurants, and more.

  • It is illegal to use marijuana in a vehicle for both drivers and passengers. Cannabis DUI laws allow for officers to administer on-site sobriety tests to determine if a driver is impaired. In addition to traditional sobriety tests, California offices may use a saliva swab test that can detect trace amounts of THC.
  • California now requires all marijuana be tested for cannabinoids, terpenes, mycotoxins and heavy metals to help medical and recreational users better understand the differences in strains and effects.
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