California Marijuana Law

    Things in California have changed a great deal over the years. In fact, California has frequently led the way in marijuana regulations. In 1996, California legalized medical marijuana and decriminalized possession. In 2016, marijuana use became specifically legal for anyone 21-years-of-age or older.

    Since then, it’s become possible to get a California marijuana license and make good money selling legally. Yet laws are always complicated, and it’s important you keep up on them. If you are ever in any doubt about where you stand, it’s always a good idea to get the advice of a lawyer.

    Basic rules

    -Personal possession

    According to the laws passed in 2016, adults over 21 in California may have up to eight grams of concentrated cannabis or one ounce of dried marijuana at any one time. An individual is also allowed to grow up to six plants for their own personal use.

    The punishment for violating these rules is six months in jail and/or a $500 fine for adults. For those between the ages of 18 and 21, having marijuana is an infraction that carries a fine. For those under 18, the law mandates counseling and community service.


    It is only legal to sell and distribute marijuana if you have a state license and a local license. In most cases, selling without this license is considered a misdemeanor; however, anyone with a criminal history may be instead charged with a felony.

    The fines for selling without a license can be pretty steep: up to three times the amount of the license fee per day of illegal operation.

    -General codes

    It is always illegal to sell marijuana to a minor, and no one may use marijuana or cannabis in public except in very particular situations. It is also illegal to operate a car while using marijuana or to have an open container of it while riding as a passenger.

    Changes in 2019

    In 2018, California passed some new laws regulating the sale and use of marijuana. These went into effect in 2019. The first of the two new bills, Bill 1793, makes it a lot faster to identify people who are eligible to have their marijuana-related convictions dismissed.

    The result should be that police save an enormous amount of effort, time, and resources on chasing up unimportant crimes. Lawmakers also hope the bill will reduce prison populations.

    The other bill, AB 3067, puts a lot more restrictions on advertising that might reach minors. It also aims to help consumers understand more about marijuana so they are better equipped to make informed choices.

    Getting a license to sell

    The first step is making sure your business will be legal in the city or county where you want to put it. California’s state law allows each county to decide for itself how to regulate marijuana businesses. This can make things confusing, especially when you consider the zoning issues.

    Some localities also issue only a certain number of permits in their jurisdiction. This means you may have to compete with other businesses to get the license you need.

    The laws allow you to get a license as a retail store or dispensary, a product manufacturer, a cultivator, or a distributor. You will need to have a business plan in place, and then you’ll apply for your temporary license. That is what you will operate with until you get your permanent license.

    Cultivating, selling, or manufacturing marijuana products is a great way to make money and pursue your passions. California makes it possible for its citizens to enjoy the benefits of marijuana use. To get started on your business, be sure to talk with a marijuana lawyer.