Is Weed Legal in California: Know More About the Marijuana Laws in the Golden State


The legality of marijuana in California sprang during the year 1996 but is only exclusive for medical use and should be used by patients of all ages given that they have a physician’s recommendation and prescription. California always had a reputation for being tolerant when it comes to marijuana use but with a defined scope and limitation. However, January 1st of the year 2019 was a triumphant and joyful day for people who want to enjoy the regulated use of marijuana for recreational purposes.

The marijuana market in California is indeed big and budding, get it? Kidding aside, California truly has one of the most well-thriving industries when it comes to cannabis sales. Weed is indeed legal in California, but its legalization does not mean that over usage or consumption of very high doses is allowed with no limits at all. The California Marijuana Laws have specific stipulations and should be followed accordingly.

Marijuana Laws in California – History

The legalization of marijuana in California was carried out during the year 1996 thanks to the effectiveness of Proposition 215 or the Compassionate Use Act. Based on the said law, California citizens can now use weed or consume marijuana but solely for medical reasons. Diseases that are valid to be treated with the use of marijuana were specified. These include arthritis, glaucoma, nausea, intense headaches, and other health and mental issues being identified by the physician that can be treated through the consumption of marijuana.

In the year 2010, citizens of California were given a chance to vote on the legalization of marijuana, now for recreational purposes as well. The official results have shown that only 46.5% were in favor, and 53.5% are against the proposition. There was not a huge difference in the results of the official voting.

Another voting for the recreational use of marijuana was again done during the year 2016. This time almost 8 million people were in favor, and around 6 million were against the proposition. Under Proposition 19, an initiative referred to as the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, includes the legalization of marijuana use but with defined limitations. It took about two years from the time of election before marijuana was finally legalized. This was on the 1st day of the year 2019.

Buying Marijuana in California

Legalizing weed in California does not necessarily mean that marijuana will now be openly available to all; you will have to be eligible to buy or use marijuana. The next question is, who is eligible?

According to the Marijuana Laws in California, you should be 21 and older to be able to purchase marijuana for whatever legal purpose it may serve. In this case, you must show a valid and government-issued identification card as proof that you are of eligible age for you to purchase. If you are using marijuana for medical purposes, you will be able to purchase marijuana, given that you have a valid prescription or recommendation from your physician. Another requirement for eligibility is that you should be enrolled in the medical marijuana program of the state.

The amount of marijuana that you’ll be able to buy in California is also specified—provided that you are eligible or aged 21 and over, you are allowed to buy about an ounce or 28.5 grams of weed in one day. When it comes to the use of marijuana for medical purposes, you or any authorized person will be able to get up to 8 ounces of weed in one day. However, marijuana in California can be a bit expensive. The high price point of weed in California is often attributed to the tax on sales. This means that the marijuana market greatly helps the state develop a good amount of earnings per year. There are also local taxes that can be pressed that depends on which city you will be getting your dose of marijuana.

The legalization of weed in California does not mean that you will also be able to buy marijuana from any store. To be able to have access to marijuana, you have to go to a licensed marijuana dispensary. According to the California Marijuana Laws, dispensaries are not permitted to commercially distribute medical marijuana from 10:00 PM to 6:00 AM the next day. For those who use marijuana for medical or recreational reasons, you can have your supply delivered to your doorstep. It is a good option for those who are too busy or cannot go to the nearest dispensary. However, having marijuana delivered will still require a valid ID upon receiving your items.

In California, there is no need to worry about limited options when it comes to different forms. Since the legalization of recreational marijuana, weed has also become available in different forms. You will truly have many choices and surely find one that will fit your preferences. The best-selling ones are the dried marijuana and are often sold by the gram. Dried marijuana is used through smoking or with the use of a vaporizer. If you are not into smoking, you still have many options to choose from. Marijuana concentrates, oils, tinctures, hash, and edibles are also widely available.

Opening a Dispensary in California

After the legalization of weed for recreational purposes in California, putting up a marijuana dispensary has seemed a good business idea for business-minded people. The supply needs to keep up with the demand, and lines of buyers are indeed becoming long. If you plan to open a dispensary in California, you will need to obtain and secure a local approval. Approval will be based on the requirements of the country of local government where you desire to start your marijuana dispensary.

After getting approved, you will now need to work on acquiring environmental permits and other assessments needed. If you have been approved locally, you will now be able to obtain a state license. Surely, opening a dispensary can become a bit of a challenge and will cost you a fortune. The first stage of the processing will involve four steps: the preliminary determination of eligibility, initial ranking, second-ranking, and a public meeting plus a City Council final selection. The initial or first stage of processing alone can cost you around $8000.00. A criminal background check for the applicant is also required before processing the application for opening a dispensary.

Growing Marijuana at Home

Based on the California marijuana laws, a person aged 21 and over will legally cultivate marijuana at home. Having the permission to grow marijuana at home does not mean that you can have full-blown cultivation or a large plantation. If you grow your marijuana at home, you will not be allowed to sell them or put them up for commercial distribution. If you are growing for medical use, you will be allowed to cultivate 12 plants at a time. One of the best pros for growing your marijuana is that you can have your harvest all to yourself.

Remember that if you are growing your marijuana at home, it should be done indoors or within a closed space. Using a grow tent will be a very good idea, and it should help hide them from other people. California laws state that you should not grow your marijuana in an open garden or any other area that will be visible to the public or your neighbors.

Read more about growing here.

Allowed Locations for Smoking Weed

Legalizing marijuana in California does not completely mean that you will be able to smoke or consume weed out in the open for everyone to see. You can only consume marijuana within your own home or private property. You will not be allowed to smoke in malls, parks, restaurants, schools, offices, or other public places. If you are caught violating the rules, you will be fined a fee worth $100 to $250. Rules will also depend on the owner if you stay in a rented apartment or a hotel room.

If you are wondering whether you will be able to smoke weed in cafes or bars, we are sorry to tell you, but it is unlikely possible. Since the legalization of recreational marijuana in 2019, there are now limited places as to where you can use marijuana, and the safest place to do so is within your homes. If you do not want to smoke inside your home for personal reasons, there are wee consumption lounges available in San Francisco, Oakland, and South Lake Tahoe.

Another big question is that, will you be able to drive after using marijuana? The straightforward answer to that is no, and you can not. The laws governing the issue regarding driving under the influence of marijuana is quite indefinite. The weight of proof depends on the arresting officer; however, you will surely be fined. Evidence will include interviews, police statements, test results, driving patterns, and physical appearance. The alleged person will undergo a field sobriety test.

Transporting Marijuana

Transporting marijuana on a plane or across borders, even if your destination is a place where marijuana is legalized, is certainly not allowed. You will be allowed to carry marijuana inside your vehicle, given that the container is tightly sealed and not tampered with. If the seal has been broken or already opened, you will need to keep it in the trunk when traveling. Violating these rules and regulations will constitute a fine of $70.

Evaluating the Quality of Weed

When buying marijuana, especially for medical purposes, you must get ones of good quality. It is your responsibility to check the quality of the weed you are buying or ask for help from the experts.

The easiest way to check the quality is to a visual inspection of the cannabis product. Observe and look for signs of pests or plant infection. If you are buying from a high-end brand or a reputable seller, you can be confident that you are getting weed-free from diseases. Another tip is that you avoid brown weed; browning is a sign of oxidation and shows that the weed is already old.

Understanding the shelving system in the dispensaries is also a good trick. Commonly, there are three shelves; the bottom ones typically contain those with the poorest quality in the stash, and the topmost part holding those that are top tier and high quality. Those at the top are also more expensive. You may also check the flowers or bud’s moisture content, and they should not be too dry or too wet. Also, please pay attention to how the dispensary staff will handle the weed since they should not be handled using bare hands at all.


Marijuana is completely legal in California, and it applies to both medical and recreational usage and purposes. However, the legalization does not completely mean that everyone will be allowed or is eligible to use marijuana. Selling and putting up of dispensaries is also regulated and the place where you will consume your marijuana. Consumers are only allowed to use marijuana in their own homes or within private property. Growing marijuana also have laws and limits and should also be cultivated within a private property or home premises. The California law specifies the limits of marijuana use, and it is crucial to remember them to avoid being in trouble and being fined.