California Legalizes Cannabis | What To Expect | Flurish Group

Four states  legalized recreational marijuana in 2016; one of them was California, where on the 1st of January 2018, legal adult-use weed sales officially began. If you’re a resident of California, you can possess, buy, and even grow marijuana legally in the state. 


Learning about marijuana laws in California is essential if you want to know what you can and cannot do. 


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Is it allowed to smoke in public? How many can you grow at home? How much pot is legal for possession? Where and how to buy weed in California? Here is our complete guide on what to expect from legalization.

Marijuana Laws In California

Under Proposition 64, approved in November 2016, adults are allowed to transport, possess and grow cannabis at home. Below, you will find important details on the marijuana legalization in California:

Possession And Growing

If you’re 21 years or older, you are allowed to grow up to six cannabis plants at home. Moreover, adults can possess up to 8 grams of cannabis concentrate and up to 28.5 grams of dried flower. Simply put, as long as you are at least 21 years old and have a valid, government-issued ID to prove your age, you have a constitutional right to possess weed in the state. On top of that, if you’re a patient with qualifying health conditions, you are allowed to possess up to one pound of medical marijuana.


When it comes to buying legal weed in California, if you’re an adult of 21 years or older and you have the government-issued ID, you are able to purchase up to 8 grams of cannabis concentrate and up to 28.5 grams of dried flower.

Smoking Weed in Public

First of all, with the Adult Use Marijuana Act legalizing recreational cannabis use, you should know what exactly the term “smoke” refers to. It relates to burning, inhaling or even carrying a heated or lighted device meant for inhalation. According to California law, pieces like pipes or vaporizers fall under the “smoking” category. 


It is prohibited to smoke or vape your legal pot in any public area where tobacco smoking is not allowed. Also, you cannot consume marijuana within 1,000 feet of places where children are present, such as schools, daycare, or youth centres.


Nonetheless, you are still allowed to smoke legal weed in private residences, as long as these are within 1,000 feet of the aforementioned institutions, and only if the smoke can’t be detected in the surrounding area.


Similar to possession and sales, if you’re at least 21 years old, you are allowed to transport the same amount of dried marijuana flower and concentrates you can legally possess. To transport weed legally, it’s mandatory to keep your stuff  in a tightly-sealed container, out of direct reach of children and the driver. Keep in mind it’s illegal to transport your marijuana in open containers, and your passengers are not allowed to smoke inside your vehicle. As for exporting cannabis across state lines -  be it by flying or driving - it is illegal in California.


If you’re a California resident, you are allowed to grow and possess up to 6 cannabis plants at home. These must be kept in a locked area, invisible to the public. If your harvest exceeds 28.5 grams, you must keep it secure within your residence.

Driving After Smoking Pot

Although recreational marijuana is now legal in California, driving under its influence is still illegal. You should be careful, as driving after smoking weed is prohibited and the penalties can range anywhere from fines and license suspension, to jail time or informal probation. In addition, these penalties increase each time you break the law. 


So, what are the legal consequences of driving high? 


You can get informal probation that will last three to five years, 96 hours to 6 months in county jail, six-month suspended license, and fines between $390 and $1000. Overall, if you want to avoid the ordeal, we suggest you consume weed legally and responsibly at all times. 


Where To Buy Legal Weed In California

Although marijuana is officially legal in California since the 1st of January, it doesn’t mean you can just walk into any local store and buy weed.


In order to sell weed legally, businesses need to have a license issued by the state of California. If you want to find out if your city allows recreational sales, it’s recommended to check the local law. For now, you can legally purchase marijuana in Berkeley, San Jose, San Diego, Ukiah, Oakland, Santa Cruz, Eureka and a few other locations. 


Keep in mind that the ID allows you to buy weed from any recreational dispensary in California. Additionally, if you have a valid doctor’s recommendation and your medical marijuana card, you can purchase weed at the local marijuana dispensary.

Taxes And Marijuana Costs

First of all, you should know that due to a new tax, weed will be more expensive in California. The new California Marijuana Tax Fund will use the accumulated excise tax dollars to cover the costs of regulating and controlling the adult use of weed in the state. If you’re wondering where the excess revenue will go, here is a list of four institutions that will benefit from the new tax:


  1. Public Universities in California/ Environmental Restoration and Protection
  2. University of California, San Diego Center for Medical Cannabis Research
  3. Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development
  4. California Highway Patrol

Types Of Marijuana Products

Marijuana legalization in California has given rise to plenty of weed-infused products, many of which were unheard of until recently. The list includes:

  • dried flowers, 
  • topicals
  • concentrates,
  • oils,
  • various types of edibles: chocolates, brownies, gummies, cakes, cookies, and even hot sauces,
  • marijuana-infused drinks.


When it comes to edibles, these must come in portions containing 10mg of THC at maximum, but a bag of edible products cannot exceed 100mg of Tetrahydrocannabinol. As for the packaging, all products in marijuana dispensaries must be kept in child proof, resealable containers. 

Making Weed Concentrates

Although marijuana is now legal for both recreational and medicinal use in California, the law is strict yet straightforward for making weed concentrates. 


It’s illegal to use volatile substances as solvents for cannabis extractions - that is, if you don’t have a government-issued license. The list of volatile solvents include:


  • butane, 
  • benzene, 
  • gasoline, 
  • acetone, 
  • isopropyl alcohol, 
  • styrene, 
  • oxygen, 
  • propane, 
  • hydrogen, 
  • methylene chloride, 
  • trichloroethylene, 
  • methanol, 
  • toluene, 
  • kerosene, 
  • xylene. 


However, feel free to make your own concentrates without a solvent using solely pressure and heat. You can also choose an ice water extraction, which is also legal in California. As for the possessing of concentrates, keep in mind you may only keep up to 8 grams at a time.

Sharing Weed

Many California residents wonder whether or not they can give their stuff to a friend, now that weed has become legal here. According to the state law, you are allowed to give away up to 28.5 grams of dried buds and up to 8 grams of concentrates, but you can’t take any compensation whatsoever. Additionally, the person you share your pot with must be at least 21 years old.


California has long held the title of the most weed-friendly state in the US. It was one of the first states to legalize medical cannabis, and the well-thought legalization of recreational weed proves that it will continue to be the true icon of the marijuana movement. However, as it is with any substance, there are certain regulations to abide by when using weed for recreational purposes, and if you fail to respect the law, you may expect adequate consequences. This is why I wanted to walk you through all necessary details about legalizing recreational pot in California - so that you use your stash responsibly and according to the letter of law. 


Only by being responsible cannabis users can we succeed with further legalization of the herb. Let us hope that this will happen sooner than later.

Josh Garcia