As of January 1, 2018, recreational cannabis in California is legal! In a nutshell, this means that any adult 21 years of age or older is allowed to purchase and possess up to one ounce of flower and eight grams of hash or concentrates. They may also cultivate up to six marijuana plants in their residence.
This all sounds amazing on paper, but as with any new law, there are going to be hiccups in implementation. You’ve got questions, and we’ve got answers.
We are not, however, lawyers. You can read all of the Prop 64 regulations here, and if you are faced with immediate legal action, please seek the assistance of an attorney.
Do you have questions about medical marijuana in California? We’ve got you covered there, as well. Check out our list of the top FAQs about medical marijuana in California.
This could be you and some legal recreational cannabis in California, and nobody’s playin’ (except Jeff Sessions)
What do I need to buy recreational weed in California?
All you need is twenty-one rotations around the sun (and a legal ID to validate it). Anyone 21 years of age or older can buy recreational weed in California as of January 1, 2018.
Can I smoke recreational weed in California… in public?
If you can’t smoke a cigarette somewhere, then you can’t smoke a joint there, either. California has strict public smoking laws, and Prop 64 does not amend them for the benefit of cannabis users. On-site lounges for marijuana consumption are anticipated to open where communities allow them, but there aren’t any (legal) ones (yet).
Do I need to let the state know that I’m smoking California cannabis?
Not only can you burn one without calling the cops on yourself, Prop 64 even allows you to grow up to six marijuana plants in your own home. Outdoor cultivation is not covered under the new law, and—just like many aspects of Prop 64—these restrictions are subject to local ordinances. Nothing has come down the pipeline yet, but it’s expected that conservative communities may prohibit home cultivation.
Will there be records of my California recreational marijuana purchases?
Yes—eventually. The digital system for keeping records of each sale—which includes your name, customer number, and items purchases—will be mandatory… once all the kinks have been worked out. California recreational marijuana dispensaries must be trained on the new system first, but in the meantime, they are meant to keep physical copies of each transaction.
I’m coming to visit California from out of state. Can I buy recreational weed while I’m on vacation?
Yes! As long as you are 21 or older with a valid ID, you’ve got the green light (in more ways that one). Prop 64 never mentions the necessity of a California state ID so all adults 21+ can benefit from the new law.
I’m coming to visit California from out of the country. Can I purchase recreational cannabis in California while I’m on vacation?
Yes! But please keep in mind that Prop 64 does not allow for smoking weed in public, and most hotels ban smoking, too.
Will recreational marijuana in California be the same quality as medical marijuana?
Not necessarily. Medical cannabis in California undergoes testing and quality control to ensure its THC and CBD content, but Prop 64 does not demand that recreational weed meet the same requirements. There will be a label on your packages (all recreational weed is sold in pre-packaged containers whereas medical marijuana can still be sold from a bulk container) to let you know whether or not your bud has passed any inspections.
There’s gotta be a catch… how much in taxes will I have to pay for California cannabis?
Quite a bit more than you may be used to if you’re accustomed to medical California weed prices. There will be a statewide 15 percent excise tax, but each and every county (and sometimes cities within those counties) will impose varying degrees of taxation on top of that. If you want to read all the fine print, peep the Revenue and Taxation Section of Prop 64.
But do not be discouraged! Tax revenue from recreational cannabis in California will fund marijuana research, youth drug education, and community investment. It’s estimated that nearly four billion dollars in marijuana sales will happen in California in 2018, and that kind of tax revenue can affect a lot of positive change.
Can I fly from San Diego to San Francisco with recreational weed in my carry on?
Just because you can do something does not mean that you should do something. Even though recreational cannabis in California is now legal, airports are regulated by the Transportation Safety Administration—a federal entity. Although the TSA is not looking for marijuana in its baggage screening, weed is still illegal on a federal level. You are advised to keep your weed (recreational or medical) out of the airports… and definitely, do not attempt to fly to another state or country with it!
Could I purchase some California weed… via mail?
You could, but it would be illegal. The USPS can’t open packages without a search warrant, but they can and will get one if they detect anything suspicious. Don’t bother with any of the private carriers either: they aren’t bound by the warrant restrictions and can rummage through your mail as they see fit.
Are there restrictions on giving recreational marijuana in California as a gift?
Some. As long as you’re not hooking them up too hard, you’re good to go. Any gift under 28.5 grams (or just over one ounce) will be legal, but anything larger than that can result in fines. A nice solution if you’re flying out of California: gift your leftover greenery to your buddies!
Will my favorite medical cannabis brands be available recreationally?
The Magic Marijuana 8-ball says: outlook not so good. Prop 64 brings with it some hefty regulations for manufacturing marijuana, and it’s unlikely that existing production facilities will be able to comply with the new rules.
The Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch, one of the three regulatory bodies for recreational cannabis in California, prohibits the production of any food items that appeal to children. That means if your favorite weed product looks indistinguishable from a kid’s treat (i.e. gummies, marshmallow-y cereal snack bars, etc.), then you’re going to want to stock up. Dispensaries have a three-month grace period after January 1 to sell through these taboo treats.
Can I participate in marijuana-centric events?
Grand marijuana gatherings like the Cannabis Cup and the Emerald Cup will still take place, and you can still go… but you have to be 21 or older. Even medical card holders aged 18 – 20 will not be admitted. Tragically, Prop 64 forbids the giving of free samples, which will definitely affect the vibe of these events.
Does Prop 64 give a wide berth to commodity cultivators?
Yes—eventually. No large cultivator licenses (over 22,000 feet indoors and/or one acre outdoors) will be issued until 2023 under the guise that this five-year headstart will allow for smaller businesses to stake their claim on the budding industry for recreational cannabis in California. But come 2023, large businesses can set up shop and potentially wipe out the work done by boutique cannabis cultivators. Prop 64 features vague language that allows for legislative amendments, and this is one of the changes that slipped in after its initial passage. Only time will tell how this will play out for the underdogs, but it doesn’t seem promising.
Recreational cannabis in California sounds great at first… but there seem to be too many rules, restrictions, and requirements surrounding weed than ever before. Can Prop 64 be repealed or amended?
It certainly can, but it requires legislative action. Prop 64 does not benefit those who reside in more conservative communities (like Kern County, which has prohibited recreational weed from doing business there). Reaching out to the lawmakers and industry influencers who ushered in legal recreational marijuana could prove effective if you are displeased with how it is panning out.
What will happen to medical marijuana in California now?
Medical marijuana won’t go anywhere for the time being, but some of the Prop 64 rules may inhibit how medical patients and businesses go about their day-to-day. The 15 percent statewide marijuana will even apply to medical cannabis. Cardholders will be exempt from state sales tax; however, they won’t be exempt from any new local taxes. Municipalities may allow medical dispensaries but not recreational dispensaries, or they could not allow either.
Some medical patients hope to create additional legislation that prevents Prop 64 from interfering with the mandates of the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, under which medical use is governed. During this time of transition, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what will change for those who rely on medical marijuana in California.
I have a non-violent marijuana-related charge on my record. How does Prop 64 help me?
Prop 64 transforms some felony charges into misdemeanors and some misdemeanors into completely irrelevant incidences. Possession of under an ounce of flower or cultivation of six or fewer plants is now legal, and if you have a charge on your record for this type of incident, you can now appeal to have it expunged. Higher rates of possession or cultivation are often considered misdemeanors instead of felonies, and the charges can be lessened under Prop 64. This often-overlooked aspect of Prop 64 will help citizens eliminate felony charges from their records. Those currently incarcerated for such charges will be able to apply for resentencing.
The effect if not instantaneous, however, and the record holder will be in charge of addressing his or her charges. A qualified marijuana rights attorney will be of great assistance if this situation applies to you.
What will happen to Prop 64 now that Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded the Cole Memo?
On January 4, 2018, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III—aka U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions—rolled back Obama-era Cole Memo. The Cole Memo gave states with legalized marijuana protection from federal interference. Sessions and his prohibition-friendly ilk are keen to see these states and their citizens punished, but things probably won’t go as they intend.
Ultimately the decision to prosecute falls on the heads of each state’s Attorney General. With the bipartisan backlash against Sessions’ decision, it’s unclear exactly how his attempt to stifle the marijuana movement will pan out. Keep your eyes trained on our blog for more information as it develops.