top of page

California Marijuana Laws Explained

As far as marijuana goes, California truly is the Golden State. As of 2018 California made $2.75 billion from marijuana sales- more than any other state, including Colorado. Since legalizing adult recreational use, the market is expected to grow to $3.7 billion by the end of 2018 and up to $5 billion in 2019.

California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana back in 1996, although conflicts with federal laws made it difficult for some Californians in the past. Nowadays, it’s easier than ever to get your hands on weed. California citizens can buy from local dispensaries or even buy weed online for delivery.

However, some laws do exist. Most importantly, marijuana users must be 21 or over. Smoking in public is also illegal in most places. Here are the California Marijuana Laws explained in detail.

Adult Use Marijuana Act Laws In California

Adult recreational use of marijuana was legalized in 2016 in California. Citizens 21 years of age or older are able to obtain and smoke marijuana for any purpose.

The California Health and Safety Code (11362.1) states that those 21 or older are able to purchase, possess, transport, process or give away (providing it is to other adults 21 or over) up to an ounce of marijuana or up to eight grams of concentrated cannabis.

You’re also able to buy, own, and give away cannabis accessories, as long as they’re not given to anyone under 21.

Adults are also able to possess, plant, cultivate, and harvest up to six living cannabis plants at any one time. You’re also legally allowed to possess all of the products produced by the plants.

Any cannabis you obtain from plants in excess of the legal possession limits must be kept and stored away privately and securely in your residence.

Violating these regulations can result in a fine of up to $250 according to the Health and Safety Code (11362.4)

Medical Marijuana Use Laws In California

The Medical Cannabis Laws in California differ slightly than recreational laws. Those with a medical use license have much fewer restrictions than regular Californians.

You can buy marijuana for medical use providing you’re 18 or over and have either a physician’s recommendation or a medical marijuana I.D. card issued by the county. Those who are Primary Caregivers to licensed medical marijuana patients can also buy cannabis products.

Medical marijuana patients can possess up to eight ounces of dried cannabis. They’re also able to possess up to six mature or twelve immature cannabis plants at a time. You can also obtain higher amounts depending on a physician’s recommendation.

Medical use patients are also exempt from paying sales tax on marijuana and marijuana products.

Marijuana Legal Restrictions in California

Although cannabis laws in California have become much more liberal, certain things are still prohibited under law.

It’s illegal to smoke or consume marijuana products in public places. This can result in a $100 fine. However, local governments are able to provide licenses for public consumption in certain areas.

You must also not consume marijuana products within 1,000 feet of schools, day care centers or youth centers unless it is within a private residence. It must not be detectable by anyone on these grounds while children are present. This can result in a $250 fine.

It’s illegal to obtain an open package of cannabis while driving or as a passenger in any form of transport. Open containers are described as any loose product or opened package of marijuana products. However, licensed medical marijuana patients are allowed to possess marijuana in a resealable container.

You must not sell marijuana products without a license and giving away marijuana or related products to adults under 21 is also illegal. It’s also highly illegal to operate vehicles or heavy machinery while under the intoxication of marijuana.

Landlords and property owners are also able to restrict marijuana use on their property.

How can I buy marijuana legally in California?

Stores with both “A” (adult use) and “M” (medical use) licenses are widely available across California.

You are able to buy marijuana at a range of retail dispensaries or buy marijuana online for delivery in California directly to your place of residence.

When buying for recreational use, you must be able to provide a form of valid I.D. such as a driver’s license to prove you are over 21.

Medical marijuana patients must provide their state-licensed I.D. card and/or their physician’s recommendation.

How much marijuana can I buy in California?

Adults 21 years of age or older can buy up to an ounce (28 grams) of cannabis or up to eight grams of cannabis concentrates.

Medical use patients 18 years of age or older can buy larger amounts, depending on their physician’s recommendation. Generally, they are able to buy up to eight ounces of dried marijuana.

You’re also able to buy cannabis seeds and grow up to six live marijuana plants at any one time. You can keep all of the produce from these plants, providing you store it away safely in your private residence.

Can tourists buy marijuana in California?

Providing you have valid I.D. proving you’re 21 or over, you should have no problem obtaining and using marijuana in California.

Keep in mind that smoking in public places is prohibited. You will need to smoke in a residence where smoking is legally allowed. This could be a friend’s place or an Airbnb. You must also not try to take marijuana outside of California state borders.

Those traveling between countries should be cautious. While smoking on holiday shouldn’t cause any trouble, some immigrants applying for U.S. visas have had them revoked for drug use.

Is it legal to sell marijuana in California?

Yes, selling and delivering marijuana for medical and recreational use is legal. providing you obtain the necessary licenses.

You can visit the California Cannabis Portal to learn more about licensing laws and directly apply for a license.

Marijuana businesses are thriving in California. The recent legalization makes it easy to run a successful marijuana business and cannabis is in high demand in California.


If you’re 21 years of age or older, you can buy, grow, and process marijuana providing you keep within certain limits. Recreational users should not possess more than an ounce. Medical users 18 years or older are able to obtain higher amounts with a physician’s recommendation.

It’s important to not smoke in public places (unless they’re licensed for public smoking) and never operate a vehicle while smoking cannabis. It’s best to keep smoking to private properties and residences.

Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page