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California Marijuana Laws

Cannabis is legal in the Golden State, but what are the plant’s regulations? Here’s what to know about California marijuana laws.

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So, is marijuana legal in California?
Let's find out.

California has led the nation in efforts to adopt a less restrictive and more liberal legal approach toward marijuana. In 1972, The Golden State introduced America’s first attempt to legalize cannabis via a ballot initiative. It was unsuccessful, but Californians would have their way in the future.

Advocates of legalization were frustrated by vetoes of medical cannabis bills, so they adopted a more direct approach; they went to the people, and it worked. In 1996, California became the first state to legalize the use, possession, and cultivation of medical marijuana via Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act

The act states that it aims “to ensure that seriously ill Californians have the right to obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes where that medical use is deemed appropriate.” California law allows patients who meet specific requirements to obtain and use marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation legally.

California Medical Marijuana Laws: The Qualifying Conditions

The qualifying conditions for medical marijuana in California are:


Besides this list, California law provides for doctors’ discretion. If you suffer from a condition that you believe will benefit from medical marijuana treatment, you can speak with your doctor. The law says, “Any other chronic or persistent medical symptom that either substantially limits a person’s ability to conduct one or more of major life activities as defined in the federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, or if not alleviated, may cause serious harm to the person’s safety, physical or mental health.”

Marijuana is still illegal federally, and states that have legalized marijuana have regulations to guide the program; it is essential to know these dos and don’ts so you don’t break the law. In this piece, we’ll walk you through California cannabis regulations. 

What Are the California Medical Marijuana Laws?

States with medical marijuana programs usually have laws that patients and physicians must adhere to. In California, that is Proposition 215.

The California Medical Marijuana Laws are the regulations stipulated in Proposition 215, which guide the possession, cultivation, use, and other relevant areas of medical marijuana in California. 

Interestingly enough, CA recently also legalized cannabis consumption for hospice patients. They are allowed to self-administer marijuana products if it helps create relief.  

In November 2016, Californians voted to approve the California recreational marijuana law under Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act. Adults 21 and older can possess and cultivate marijuana for personal use. 

Proposition 64 “reduces criminal penalties for specified marijuana-related offenses for adults and juveniles; and authorizes resentencing or dismissal and sealing of prior, eligible marijuana-related convictions.”

Along with having recreational cannabis, California has also begun implementing cannabis businesses — and not just dispensaries. These are bars, coffee shops, and lounges that allow cannabis consumption.  

Medical Cannabis Possession Limit

Medical cannabis may be legal in California, but it’s not an all-you-can-have buffet; there are limits. Qualified patients and caregivers can have no more than 8 ounces of dried marijuana. 

Also, patients and caregivers can own up to 6 mature or 12 immature marijuana plants. 

Californians aged 18 and older are qualified to apply for medical marijuana. Minors who wish to apply for a medical marijuana card must be fully emancipated or have declared self-sufficiency status. 

For minors who are not emancipated or have not declared self-sufficiency, their parent, legal guardian, or person with legal authority to make medical decisions may apply.  

California Medical Marijuana Growing Laws

A qualified patient or primary caregiver can own no more than six mature or 12 immature marijuana plants; if you have a doctor’s recommendation, you can grow more than the prescribed amount consistent with your reasonable need.   

Growing Weed in California Penalties

Can you grow weed in California? Yes, but again, you have to pay attention to its regulations. 

You don’t need a cultivation license, but you must be 21 years or older, and you can grow no more than six plants. Spouses or partners who share a residence can produce only six plants in a single home, not six plants each.

See other notable points below:


    • Weed cultivation must occur in a locked space indoors or on private property and not visible to the public. 
    • If a person under 18 grows marijuana, it is an infraction punishable by a maximum fine of $100. 
    • Anyone aged 21 or older who grows more than six plants faces a felony charge punishable by up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $500. 
    • Breaking cultivation laws is a felony if the person is a registered sex offender, has a serious violent felony record, violates specific environmental regulations, or has two or more prior cultivation convictions. More so, the penalties are stiffer. Cultivation felony attracts imprisonment for up to three years and/or a fine of up to $10,000.  

California Cannabis Regulations 

While weed is legal in California, there are limitations and penalties attached. To make informed decisions and stay on the side of the law, you need to know California’s marijuana policy.  

Adults 21 and older can use, possess, and grow cannabis for personal use. Persons under the legal age who possess cannabis will be charged with an infraction and sentenced to a fine if they are at least 18, while those under 18 get drug counseling and community service. 

Possession Limit

Adults 21 and older can possess no more than one ounce of dried marijuana or 8 grams of concentrated cannabis and grow no more than six plants for personal use. Adults who exceed these amounts for recreational marijuana face a misdemeanor charge, and the state may punish them with up to 6 months in county jail and/or a fine of up to $500.

The sale of marijuana is legal only if you have a license; without a license, the sale, possession, or transportation with intent to sell is a misdemeanor.  

California Medical Marijuana Reciprocity

You may be wondering if you can use your California medical marijuana card in other states. Some states allow you to use a valid out-of-state marijuana card, but California does not recognize medical marijuana cards of other states

However, since recreational marijuana is legal in the state, you can purchase it from a licensed retailer if you have a government-issued ID. 

Smoking Weed in California

Recreational weed may be legal in California, but you can’t smoke anywhere. You can’t smoke in public spaces and on federal property. The best place to smoke is in your private home if you own the property. 

LEARN MORE: If You Have a Medical Marijuana Card, Where Can You Smoke?

However, if you rent, the property owner can ban marijuana on their property. Marijuana laws allow marijuana bars or lounges to operate, so if you rent and your landlord refuses marijuana, you can smoke in a marijuana lounge. 

Stay Informed With Elevate Holistics

California blazed the trail when it became the first state to legalize medical marijuana and recreational marijuana. Just like the Golden State, we at Elevate Holistics are pacesetters when it comes to marijuana. 

The first step to having a satisfying marijuana journey is information. That’s why we ensure you know all you need to know about marijuana in California — this way, you can consume with confidence.

We are here to answer your canna-related questions and inquiries.

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