California Marijuana Laws
California has a unique set of laws regarding the legality of marijuana use. It is not uncommon that a criminal case might involve this peculiarly regulated and controversial drug.
In November 2016, California passed Prop 64, the Adult Use Marijuana Act (AUMA), making legal the recreational marijuana use for adults 21 years of age or older. On January 1, 2018, California started 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.
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.
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.
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.