Driving with Cannabis in California
Since the legalization of recreational cannabis in California at the start of the year, more people than ever are transporting their purchases around and the police know it. Cannabis is legal in California so it’s important to know your rights when it comes to law enforcement and how to properly transport your goods.
Remember, it is illegal for you OR your passenger to smoke, vape or ingest cannabis while driving. It is also illegal to operate a vehicle while impaired by cannabis, alcohol or other substance.
Don’t carry more than the legal limit of one ounce of dried cannabis or 8 grams of concentrates.
In California, law enforcement can’t search your car because they smell cannabis. However, they can look for anything in plain sight (a roach in your ashtray, empty cannabis packet) and use that as probable cause to search. Keep your driving area clean and your cannabis put away while driving.
Speeding or other traffic violations do not give officers cause to search you or your vehicle. Your race, gender or manner of dress is not a probable cause!
If your cannabis is in sealed containers (this means an UNBROKEN seal), you’re fine to have it in the passenger compartment but if the container is open, it must be inaccessible as in locked in the trunk or glove compartment.
If they find visible evidence that you could be driving while impaired, you will likely have to submit to a sobriety test.
If you are pulled over, remain calm, be respectful and exercise your right to remain silent. Exchange the basic information the officer requires and nothing more. Don’t volunteer anything! If at any time you feel your rights are being violated, request to call an attorney. Do not allow yourself to be goaded into saying something that could come back to haunt you later.