In 1996, California pioneered the legalization of medicinal cannabis with the passage of the Compassionate Use Act. Since then, the state has further expanded its policies to permit both medicinal and adult recreational use of cannabis. The aim is to ensure businesses operate within safe parameters and cannabis products are regulated.
For Californians, the legal age to purchase cannabis is 21 or older for adult use and 18 or older with a physician’s recommendation for medicinal purposes. However, it’s important to note that individual cities and counties in California may enforce stricter cannabis laws. Interested individuals should refer to their local city or county websites for specific regulations in their area.
Adults in California are allowed to use, carry, and grow cannabis. As of January 1, 2018, the purchase of cannabis for adult use without a physician’s recommendation or a county-issued medical marijuana identification card became legal for those 21 and over. Medicinal cannabis users must have a current physician’s recommendation to be in compliance with state law.
California’s governor, Gavin Newsom, has signed multiple bills aimed at strengthening the state’s cannabis laws, thus expanding the legal market and addressing the consequences of cannabis prohibition. This includes facilitating access to legal and tested cannabis products through a searchable database of licensed businesses by city or county.
Proposition 64, passed in November 2016, not only legalized the possession and recreational use of marijuana but also initiated retail sales of recreational marijuana starting January 1, 2018. Moreover, Assembly Bill 1793, effective from January 1, 2019, eased the process for the review of marijuana-related convictions eligible for relief under Proposition 64.
Marijuana is recognized for its psychoactive effects due to the presence of THC, and it has been associated with an increase in fatal automobile accidents in California. With the legalization, the state has witnessed changes in the consumption trends among adults.
To learn more about California’s cannabis laws and regulations, please visit the Department of Cannabis Control. For information on what is legal in the state, check the Department of Cannabis Control’s guidelines and the California Department of Public Health. Details on the impact of Proposition 64 can be found at the California Courts website.