Cannabis remains classified as a Schedule I drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act, therefore, its purchase, possession, distribution, or use, even within California and other states where it has been legalized medicinally or recreationally, may be unlawful under federal law.
After California passed Proposition 64 in November 2016, recreational marijuana use became legal in California on January 1, 2018. Under the law, adults age 21 and over may possess up to one ounce of dried marijuana or eight grams of concentrated cannabis (hashish).
Here are some things to know about possessing and using marijuana in California.
- You must be 21 or older to possess, buy or use recreational cannabis. This includes flower, resin, concentrates, and edibles.
- It is illegal to give or sell retail cannabis to minors.
- You may possess 28.5 grams of cannabis plant material and 8 grams of concentrated cannabis.
- You can consume cannabis on private property, but property owners and landlords may legally prohibit the use and possession of cannabis on their properties.
- It is illegal to consume, smoke, eat, or vape cannabis in a public place. It is illegal to consume cannabis in locations where smoking is illegal. This includes bars, restaurants, buildings open to the public, places of employment, and areas within 15 feet of doors and ventilation openings.
- It is illegal to open a package containing cannabis or any cannabis products in a public place.
- It is illegal under federal law to use or possess cannabis on federal lands such as national parks, even if the park is in California.
- It is illegal to drive under the influence of cannabis.
- It is illegal to transport cannabis across state lines, even if traveling to another state where cannabis is legal.
- Only state-licensed establishments may sell retail cannabis products.
California Vehicle Code § 23152(f) makes driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) a criminal offense. The charge of DUID may apply when a driver is unable to drive like a sober person would under the same circumstances due to the use of any drug, whether illegal, prescription, or over-the-counter, or a combination of any drug and alcohol. Like a DUI, the penalties for a DUID may be severe.
John Patrick Dolan is a California State Bar Certified Specialist in Criminal Law. Certification as a Specialist in Criminal Law is the highest achievement awarded by the State Bar of California to attorneys in the field of criminal law. The attorneys at the Dolan Law Offices have decades of experience defending individuals charged with drug possession, domestic violence, DUI, and violent felonies. Call us today at (760) 775-3739 or find out more online here.