What’s legal and what’s not
Cannabis is legal in California. You can buy cannabis if you are:
- 18 or older with a physician’s recommendation (medicinal use)
- 21 or older (adult use)
Cities and counties may have stricter laws about cannabis than the state. Go to your city or county website to learn about rules in your area.
There are different rules for medicinal users and adult users. Medicinal users:
- Have higher possession limits
- Can grow more plants at home if their physician recommends it
- Buy more cannabis each day if their physician recommends it
The Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) has resources for medicinal patients and their caregivers.
Where you can use cannabis
You can use cannabis on private property, but not in public places like restaurants or bars.
- Smoke cannabis where it’s illegal to smoke tobacco
- Smoke cannabis within 1,000 feet of a school, day care center or youth center while kids are present
Property owners can ban the use of cannabis on privately-owned property. If you rent, read your rental agreement to see if there are any restrictions.
Most hotels do not allow guests to use cannabis in their hotel room. Ask the reception desk about the hotel’s policy to be sure. If you stay in a vacation rental, check with the property owner about the rules for your stay.
Cannabis is still illegal under federal law, which means you also cannot:
- Use or possess cannabis on federal lands, like national parks
- Take cannabis across state lines
Growing cannabis at home
You can grow up to 6 cannabis plants at home if you’re at least 21 years old. If you turn the cannabis into a product, you cannot use volatile solvents like butane or propane.
Some cities and counties have specific rules for home grows, such as permit requirements or requiring grows to be indoors. Contact your local office to learn the rules in your area.
Driving with cannabis
Having an open container of cannabis while driving or riding in a vehicle is illegal. If you have cannabis in a vehicle, it must be in either:
- A sealed package or container
- In the trunk of the vehicle
Law enforcement officers can pull you over to conduct a sobriety test if they suspect you are operating a car, boat or other vehicle under the influence of cannabis.
How to buy cannabis
All cannabis retailers must have a license from DCC. Licensed retailers have strict rules that:
- Prevent sales to minors
- Ensure all products are tested
- Ensure the amount of THC and CBD on the label is accurate
Some stores that look legitimate are not actually licensed. Stores without a license may sell untested products. Untested cannabis can have:
- Harmful chemicals
How to find a licensed retailer
Use the DCC license search to find a licensed retailer near you. Once you find a retailer, you can:
- Order online for in-store pickup
- Order online for delivery
- Visit a store
Retailers must display their state license in their window so customers can see it. You can scan the QR code on the license certificate to verify their status.
Reporting suspicious activity
Suspect illegal behavior or an unlicensed cannabis retail store?
You can file an anonymous complaint against any cannabis businesses, licensed or unlicensed. Please provide as much detail as possible.