California led the way for medical cannabis use by legalizing it for such purposes back in 1997. Proposition 64 passed in 2016, and it became legal to use cannabis for recreational purposes as of January 2018.

While it’s legal, the state still has strict laws regarding cannabis. Here’s what you need to know about cannabis use in California.

Where You Can Get It

Only licensed dispensaries are legally allowed to sell cannabis in the state of California. If you need it for medical purposes, you need to visit a medical dispensary, which has an “M” medical use license. You can purchase recreational cannabis from dispensaries with an “A” adult-use license.

You can also have medical or recreational cannabis delivered. To do so, you need to use an “A” or “M” licensed delivery service.

Do You Need a Medical Cannabis Card?

You do not need to have a medical cannabis card to purchase cannabis for medicinal purposes. What you do need to have is a physician’s recommendation. Having a medical cannabis card, however, makes you exempt from having to pay sales tax on medical cannabis purchases.

How Old Do You Have to Be For Cannabis Use in California?

To purchase and use recreational cannabis, you must be at least 21 years old. You are required to show your state-issued ID.

There is no age restriction on the use of medical cannabis. Patients under the age of 18, however, will need permission from parents or guardians. Young adults aged 18 to 20, with a medical card, can enter a medical dispensary and make a purchase, but they cannot visit a recreational-use store.

Patients under the age of 18 cannot visit a medical dispensary. The parents or guardians will need to make the purchase instead.

How Much Can You Have?

You can have up to 28.5 grams (approximately one ounce) of cannabis plant material, and up to 8 grams of concentrated cannabis.

Where You Can Use It

Cannabis is legal in California, but that doesn’t mean that you can use it wherever you want. Under California law you cannot:

  • Use any cannabis product in a public place
  • Smoke or vape in a non-smoking area
  • Use cannabis in an apartment or rented house when the landlord prohibits it
  • Sell cannabis without a license

There are penalties for breaking the laws. The exact crime you commit will determine what sort of charges and penalties are applied.

What About Transporting It?

You cannot use cannabis in your vehicle, nor can you have it open. Even if you’re a passenger in someone else’s car, you cannot use it. When transporting cannabis, it must be in its packaging with the seal unbroken or in a childproof container. Otherwise, it has to be in a locked space outside of the car, such as your trunk.

You cannot transport cannabis across state lines, even if you’re traveling to another state where it’s legal.

Can You Grow Your Own?

Under California law, adults 21 and older can cultivate up to six live plants. You can only grow it in your house or on your property. Even in your backyard, there are still regulations. For instance, it’s illegal to grow plants in your backyard if you live next to a park or other public-use area.

It's legal in California for recreational and medical purposes. Even so, there are still laws. Following them will keep you out of trouble and allow you to enjoy your experience to the fullest.