The rise of cannabis consumption and the establishment of cannabis dispensaries has grown exponentially in various states in the United States. Especially, the State of California—which is the first state ever to legalize marijuana’s possession, consumption, and cultivation.
Since its legalization, California’s economy has improved through the collection of taxes and fees due to cannabis-related activities. However, federal law still treats cannabis as an illegal substance whether intended for medical and recreational use. On a federal level, it’s still classified as a Schedule 1 prohibited substance—determined to have a high potential for abuse.
This ban on cannabis-related activities has been challenged and argued on several occasions before the courts. But now, individuals acting under state law cannot be faulted in complying with it.
Incidentally, there are 10 things you need to know about cannabis laws in California:
Adult Use Laws (Recreational)
If you are at least 21 years of age or older; you are allowed to possess, use privately, and give away up to one ounce of cannabis and up to 8 grams of concentrated cannabis. You can cultivate at your residence not more than six plants so long as it is for personal use.
Likewise, you can purchase cannabis from licensed retail outlets only. However, it is illegal to sell cannabis if you don’t have a license to do so.
Patients Use Regulation (Medical)
Patients use allows you to possess and transport medical cannabis up to 8 ounces of medical cannabis and up to 6 mature plants. And this is regardless of your age, provided you have a current physician’s recommendation.
This also includes a medical marijuana identification card issued by your county. Additionally, there’s no limit for CBD purchase. If you want to buy, you must be at least 18 years old and with a physician’s recommendation.
Bringing cannabis beyond state lines is illegal. Also, giving cannabis to a minor, whose age is under 21 years old, and without a physician’s recommendation is prohibited.
Where Can I Consume Cannabis?
You can’t smoke, eat or vape cannabis in public places, except in your private property. Consuming or possessing cannabis on federal lands like national parks is not allowed, even though the parks are in California or legal under California Law. Property owners and landlords are authorized to ban the use or possession of cannabis on their premises.
In places where tobacco smoking is prohibited, likewise, bars you from smoking cannabis. You are also prohibited from smoking cannabis in areas near a school, recreational center, youth center, or a school bus where children are present.
Driving and Passengers
Law enforcers have the authority to pull you over and conduct sobriety tests when you are caught operating a car, boat, or other means of transport under the influence of cannabis.
Consuming or possessing an “open container” of cannabis whether you are in the driver or passenger’s seat in any type of motor vehicle, plane or boat is illegal. Having cannabis in your vehicle should be in an approved and sealed package or container. Otherwise, it should be put in your vehicle’s trunk.
Passengers are permitted to consume cannabis in commercial vehicles licensed for such purpose without children’s presence. Closed or resealed container may be possessed by patients with ID or physician’s recommendation.
Cultivating and Processing
Planting, cultivating harvest, drying, and processing up to 6 cannabis plants in private residence is allowed provided you are 21 years old or over. Your grown cannabis must not be visible to the public eye and should be in a locked space. The allowable cannabis to be planted should not be more than 6 at one residence, at one time.
Local governments have the power to impose reasonable restrictions on cultivation. On the contrary, they cannot outlaw resident owners to cultivate indoors or in an accessory structure, which is sealed and secure.
Other Marijuana Laws in California
Landlords and other private parties are not prohibited to restrict the use of cannabis on their privately owned property. And any government agencies can prohibit or restrict cannabis use in buildings they occupied.
Employers have the right to formulate their policies on marijuana use and other illegal substances. Additionally, employers are empowered to terminate employees who fail a drug screening for cannabis, regardless of state law. Employers are entitled to keep their workplace drug free or come up with policies prohibiting employees’ cannabis use.
Rule on Medical Use
For personal needs, patients and their designated caregivers are entitled to possess and cultivate cannabis coupled with physician’s approval and recommendations. There is no age requirement for medical use. Patients are exempt from sales tax on medical cannabis products as long they have a medical cannabis ID card.
However, parents and guardians are needed for minors below 18. While young adults 18 years old and above can go to a licensed state dispensary.
Local governments imposed additional taxes on cannabis businesses as high as 10-20 percent of total revenues. When a cannabis retailer sells cannabis or cannabis products at retail, he/she is required to collect the cannabis excise tax from his/her customer.
While a cannabis cultivator should be in-charge in the collection of cultivation tax on all harvested cannabis entering the commercial market. Your distributor or manufacturer are the ones to collect the cultivation tax from you according to the cannabis’ category and weight.
Juvenile offenders who are under 18 are exempt from fines and imprisonment. But they are sentenced to do community service, undergo drug counseling or education. On the other hand, adult offenders are charged with non-arrestable infractions violations or criminal misdemeanors.
You will be charged and convicted for a misdemeanor if found guilty of illegal cultivation, harvesting, drying, or processing of more than six plants. If you Illegally sell, furnish, administer, give away, transport for sale or import into the state—it is a misdemeanor. Also, possessing cannabis intended for illegal sale is considered a misdemeanor.
The Bureau of Cannabis Control is responsible for licensing and regulating retail sales, distribution, and testing. And the Department of Food and Agriculture is in control of the cultivation of cannabis. While the Department of Public Health is responsible for manufacturing products.
Local or county governments’ approval is required for all state-licensed facilities. Lastly, you may find further information on state regulations may be found at the California Cannabis Portal.