Marijuana Laws in California

By February 3, 2011Marijuana Laws State-by-State

Recreational Marijuana Use in Californiacannabis california

Despite the failure of Proposition 19 in November 2010, California has, to a certain extent, decriminalized marijuana. First offenses for possession of 28.5gms or less of cannabis in your residence or home will not attract a jail sentence or a criminal record; mostly it will be viewed in the same way as a minor traffic violation.

For possession of larger amounts of marijuana, or possession within the vicinity of a school, will attract penalties. Growing any amount of marijuana within California is viewed as a felony and attracts a maximum prison sentence of 3 years. (Unless you are growing as a caregiver, see below).

If you give somebody 28.5gms or less of marijuana as a gift, you will be fined a maximum of $100. Sale of any amount of marijuana is punishable by imprisonment with no fine.  Under 21-year-olds convicted of marijuana related offenses will lose their driving license for one year.

Medical Marijuana Use in California

  • Possession: patients (or their primary caregivers) may legally possess no more than eight ounces of dried marijuana and/or six mature cannabis plants. Twelve immature cannabis plants are allowed in place of the six mature ones. Only the dried mature processed flowers or buds of the female cannabis plant are allowed.
  • Senate Bill 420: if a physician considers that the patient needs more than the allowed amount of marijuana to treat his medical condition this will be allowed.
  • Cultivation: a person is acting as primary caregiver to more than one patient under section may aggregate the possession and cultivation limits for each patient. For example, if a caregiver is responsible for three patients, he or she may possess up to 24 oz. of marijuana (8 oz. per patient) and may grow 18 mature or 36 immature plants. Similarly, collectives and cooperatives may cultivate and transport marijuana in aggregate amounts tied to its membership numbers.
  • Registration: Although verbal recommendations are technically permitted under Proposition 215, patients should obtain and carry written proof of their physician recommendations to help them avoid arrest. A state identification card is the best form of proof, because it is easily verifiable and provides immunity from arrest if certain conditions are met.


The next best forms of proof are a city- or county-issued patient identification card, or a written recommendation from a physician.

  • Caregivers: The patient may designate a primary caregiver, who “has consistently assumed responsibility for the housing, health, or safety” of the patient.
  • A person may serve as primary caregiver to more than onepatient, provided that the patients and caregiver all reside in the same city or county.  Primary caregivers also may receive certain compensation for “actual expenses, including reasonable compensation incurred for services provided.”



  • Mary says:

    When can people who are not currently medicinal card holders purchase in dispensaries??

  • Cracker says:

    I’m pro-legalization of marijuana and pro recreational use as well! The major hurdle I see is big pharma! Marijuana helps so many people with in so many ways with so many different ailments that the pharmaceutical companies would suffer and not be able to overcharge and keep people hooked on they’re profit makin pills! LEGALZE IT!!

  • pothead says:

    Warning: Dispensaries are not required to document your name as a retail customer purchasing recreational marijuana. Always confirm store policy before giving out your ID.

  • Stanley says:

    Crapy thing is I have a legit license for medical use. In fact, I am a disabled Vet. Yet the problem is I cannot get a job anywhere becaues every employer seems to test for it. How come there are no laws relating to that?

  • jimmy white says:

    I think it should be legal and taxed it would save billions of tax dollars and lives it is an harmless weed it does
    not lead you to stronger drugs. I’m 62 years old and don’t smoke it. I used to when I was a lot younger. No to
    stronger drugs meth is like mooshine it will do more than blind you.

  • Debbie Maier says:

    Whatvhappens when you fly from Montan to Ca. Do you carry it on?

  • caige says:

    i think weed needs to be legalized cause if we did the united staes would save over 3 billion dollers. the war on bud needs to end and stoners of the world need to unite.

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