The Straight Dope on California’s Cannabis Laws

The Straight Dope on California’s Cannabis Laws
June 19, 2018 Noa

The Straight Dope on California’s Cannabis Laws


As of January 1, 2018, cannabis became recreationally legal in California. Frankly, the whole thing is a mess. It can be hard to decipher what’s changed and how it might affect you. Here are the basics of California’s current laws:

Q. How much cannabis can I carry on me?

A. You can have up to one ounce of dried cannabis or 8 oz of concentrates in your possession.

Q. Can I smoke/vape in public?

A. No.

Q. Where can I purchase cannabis? Do I need a Dr’s recommendation?

A. You can purchase cannabis at any licensed recreational cannabis dispensary (see your city/county website) or from a delivery service. No recommendation required.

Q. Should I renew my medical recommendation?

A. Not unless you want/need to exceed the legal limits for cultivation or possession or prefer to purchase from a medical-only dispensary.

Q. Why am I paying tax? I thought medical cannabis patients were tax-exempt!

A. Medical users are exempt from California sales tax only and only if they hold an official State of California Dept. of Public Health Medical Marijuana card. All purchasers must pay the state excise tax (currently 15%) plus whatever local taxes your area has set.

Q. Is cannabis legal on Federal land?

A. No. You may be subject to search, seizure and federal charges.

Q. How many plants can I grow?

A. Up to six plants*. More if you hold an official medical cannabis card.  *local regulations apply

Q. Can my landlord kick me out for using or growing cannabis?

A. Yes. They can set stipulations against using or growing cannabis.

Q. Can I fly with cannabis?

A. You can fly within California with up to one ounce.

Q. My job requires drug testing. Can my employer fire me for using cannabis?

A. Yes. It’s legal for employers to discriminate against cannabis users.

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