On Election Day of 2012, Colorado became the first state in the union to legalize marijuana for recreational use. In the ten years since then, a further 11 states, plus Washington D.C. and Guam, have followed suit.
California was among the early adopter of recreational marijuana. But just because it’s legal doesn’t mean there are no rules regulating its possession or use. Here are the key California marijuana laws that you need to know before you think about buying or using cannabis in the state.
What You Need to Know About California Marijuana Laws
Marijuana was first legalized for medical use in California way back in 1996, with recreational use following in 2018. Under the current law, customers must be at least 21 years old to purchase, possess, and consume up to 28.5 grams of marijuana.
Purchases must be made through a licensed dispensary. The licensing process is overseen by the Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC).
Like alcohol, you’re not at liberty to use it in public. You can only use it in a private residence or an authorized establishment, a lot like how you’re not allowed to walk the streets with an open beer. And also like alcohol, the state exacts a considerable tax on its cultivation and sale.
In addition to possessing up to 28.5 grams, individuals may maintain up to six plants for their own personal use.
Exceeding these possession limits is a crime, punishable by a $500 fine and/or up to six months in prison. Possession with the intent to distribute is a misdemeanor, likewise punishable by a $500 fine and/or up to six months in prison.
Also note that while it’s not a punishment per se, vehicles, cash, and other personal property are subject to confiscation and civil forfeiture if you’re caught violating any controlled substance laws, including marijuana possession limits.
Where to Get California Cannabis
Under the law, marijuana may only be sold by licensed dispensaries. Local governments are in charge of monitoring these businesses. Companies must not only have a license, but a permit for the jurisdiction they would operate in.
Despite marijuana being legal under state law, there are some jurisdictions where its sale is still prohibited. There are orders compelling local governments to permit its sale, but they’re often able to skirt those commands. All they have to do is refuse to issue the required permits.
Even in localities where you can find a licensed dispensary with ease, these businesses are not all created equal. You want to patronize reputable businesses that stake their reputation on quality products and knowledgeable staff that can help customers make informed purchasing decisions.
To see an example of one of the most successful dispensary chains, check out harvesthoc.com
Staying on the Right Side of Cannabis Laws
Cannabis has been grown in California at least since 1795. In that time, it has survived all attempts to suppress its cultivation and use. It now thrives as a major cash crop and a boon to the state economy.
By staying on the right side of all California marijuana laws, you can enjoy cannabis legally within state bounds. But of course, the law is only one aspect of marijuana use.
To learn more about the science of cannabis and the trends of the business, be sure to keep up with all our latest news on the burgeoning marijuana industry.