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Our guide to growing weed in California covers the Golden State's home cultivation and licensing laws. Learn how many cannabis plants you can grow as a medical or recreational user, where you can grow them, and what the penalties are for breaking the law.

If you're a budding entrepreneur, we’ll outline how you can obtain a cultivation permit and start growing weed.

California Home Grow Weed Laws

In 1996, California legalized the consumption, sale, and cultivation of cannabis for medicinal users over the age of 18 (and minors with authorization) with a doctor's recommendation. In 2016, voters approved proposition 64 legalizing adult-use cannabis for adults 21 and older.

Cannabis gardens must be in a secured location that is not clearly visible or accessible from a public place. Cities are allowed to ban outdoor cultivation. Cultivation laws can be reasonably regulated by local jurisdictions and may include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Require growers to obtain a cultivation permit for a fee
  • Set limits on the size of the garden
  • Set limits on plant height and ceiling distance
  • Limit the amount of lighting energy used
  • And several other restrictions.

Recreational Cultivation Laws

Under California's adult-use cannabis laws, recreational users can grow up to six mature plants per household.

Medical Cultivation Laws

Medical cannabis patients and caregivers can cultivate up to 6 mature cannabis plants, 12 immature plants, or a greater amount consistent with the patient's reasonable needs. Patients are allowed to grow in an area that’s 100 square feet.

Illegal Cultivation Laws

Individuals aged 18 to 20 who cultivate cannabis can be punished with a maximum fine of $100. Adults 21 or older caught growing more than 6 cannabis plants can be convicted of a misdemeanor. Growing more than 6 plants is punishable with up to six months in county jail and/or a fine of up to $500.

Nonviolent first-time or second-time offenders can postpone a sentence in order to attend and complete a drug treatment program.

Breaking the cultivation laws in the state can earn you a felony in certain situations. Felony penalties can be punishable by up to 3 years in jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000. This can occur when someone grows more than 6 plants and:

  • Has a serious violent felony on their record
  • Are registered sex offenders
  • Have 2 or more prior cannabis cultivation convictions
  • Violate certain environmental laws in their cultivation practices

How to Get a Cultivation License in California

In California, the CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing division of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is responsible for licensing and regulating commercial cannabis cultivators in the state. The state has an unlimited number of cultivation licenses available. Learn about the application process, fees, and requirements of obtaining a cultivation license in California from our blog resource.

Appellation of Origin Laws

Under California law and its cannabis appellation program, regional cannabis goods and local businesses will be promoted. The laws will protect regional designations and prevent the misrepresentation of a cannabis good’s origin. For instance, a cannabis product may only be advertised as being “Humboldt-grown” if it was grown in Humboldt County. The CDFA is currently considering proposed regulations.

How to Grow Weed in California

Growing cannabis in California for personal use has never been easier. If you meet the minimum age requirements and meet all other legal requirements, you can get started on growing cannabis at home. Of course, climates vary even within the state. It's up to you to account for the rainy and cold climates of Northern California or warm and dry climates of Southern California.

Here's a general rundown of the cannabis cultivation process:

  1. Choose a location: Check your local laws to see where you are legally allowed to grow and the rules for growing. Growing outdoors can save you money on energy by using the sun for light. Indoor growing can produce high yields, but requires more energy use.
  2. Gather your supplies: Are you growing from seeds or clones? Shop from reputable online or licensed brick-and-mortar suppliers to obtain high-quality genetics that can thrive in your specific climate. If growing indoors, invest in a proper lighting and ventilation system to maintain an appropriate climate for your plants. Other essentials include:
    1. Growing medium/container
    2. Nutrients
    3. Clean water
    4. Lights (HID, LED, or CFL)
    5. Grow tent (if growing indoors)
  3. Get your grow started: If growing from seeds, you'll need to germinate them first. Cannabis clones have already undergone the germination phase. Start off with a lower level of nutrients and lights to jumpstart your plant’s root growth.
  4. Vegetative phase: During the plant's vegetative phase, it's growing its leaves and branches. It'll need a higher percentage of nitrogen during this time. Consider its unique lighting needs and ensure it has at least 16 hours of daylight.
  5. Flowering phase: The flowering phase requires about 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness to stimulate flowering. During this time, a higher level of phosphorus and potassium is needed.
  6. Harvest: When your trichomes are ripe and ready, it's time to cut down your branches and dry them to remove the excess moisture in a cool, dark, and dry environment. Afterward, you must cure them to remove more moisture and refine its flavor and aroma.
  7. Enjoy: Once you’ve dried and cured your bud,  you can smoke it, make edibles, make topicals, and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
man growing weed indoors in California

How To Grow Weed In California Updated Ultimate Guide

Californians must navigate a complex web of federal, state, and local laws while growing cannabis. This is the most comprehensive updated guide to growing cannabis in California:

Recognize the Law

Up to six plants may be grown for personal use by Californians aged 21 and up. Nonetheless, it's important to confirm the precise laws in your county or city as municipal rules might impose further limitations.

Selecting a Grow Site

Because of its controlled atmosphere, indoor gardening is frequently recommended. A safe, private location that is hidden from view from the public is necessary for outdoor growing. Either way, the place needs to be safe to avoid unwanted entry, especially from children.

Pick Your Strains

When choosing strains, take your area and environment into account. While certain strains may need more care and attention, others may be more suited for the environment of California.

Getting Reputable Seeds or Clones

Buy clones or seeds from reliable seed banks or dispensaries to guarantee quality and legality in your state.

Setting Up the Growing Medium

It's critical to make sure the growing medium is appropriate for cannabis growth, whether you're using a hydroponic system or soil. A soil that is rich in nutrients is necessary for good growth.

Pick Your Lighting

Proper lighting is essential for indoor gardening. Lights that are LED or HID are widely used. Controlling the light cycle is necessary for both the vegetative and blooming periods.

Hydration and Nutrients

Throughout their various growth phases, cannabis plants need to receive frequent hydration as well as certain nutrients. Waterlogging too much or too little can be harmful.

Climate Control

It's critical to keep indoor growing conditions at a constant temperature and humidity level. Growers that plant outdoors need to understand the climate and weather trends in their area.

Plant Training and Pruning

Pruning, topping, and low-stress training (LST) are several techniques that can help control plant size and boost production.

Management of Pests and Diseases

Keep an eye out for any indications of illness or pests. To keep plants healthy, use organic pesticides and take preventative precautions.


To maximize potency and yield, harvesting must be timed perfectly. Pistil alterations and trichome color are signs of preparation.

Drying and Curing

Correct drying and curing extend the cannabis's shelf life and quality. Several weeks may pass during this process.

Safety and Compliance

Continue to abide by all local and state laws at all times. Store your goods carefully and maintain the security of your growing space.

Constant Learning At Cannabis Training University, Cannabis School

The cultivation of cannabis is a lifelong learning process. Participate in grower groups, keep up with emerging techniques, and try new things to hone your craft.

California Cannabis Cultivation Laws

California has extensive cannabis production regulations that change according to whether the plant is being grown for commercial, medicinal, or personal use.

Private (Recreational) Growing of Cannabis in California

-Indoor and Outdoor Limits: Individuals who are at least 21 years old may grow up to six plants for personal use per household (not per individual). This is a maximum that is applicable whether the growth is occurring indoors or outside.

-Plants have to be in a secured area and hidden from view from the public.

Sale of Grown Cannabis In California

-Without a business license, it is unlawful to sell cannabis or cannabis-related items.

-Increased Limits for Medical Use

-Unless a physician prescribes a higher quantity, medical cannabis patients and their primary caregivers may grow up to six mature or twelve immature cannabis plants.

Laws for Caregivers in California

-Primary caregivers are permitted to cultivate cannabis for their patients. They are only allowed to care for five patients at a time and must be eighteen years of age or older.

Commercial Cultivation License California

-The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) issues licenses for commercial cultivation under the California Cannabis Cultivation Licensing program. Permits differ according on cultivation type and size (indoor, outdoor, mixed-light).

Selling Growing Cannabis in California

-Only authorized shops or delivery firms are permitted to sell cannabis goods.

-Zoning laws and ordinances must also be followed by commercial growers. More stringent regulations or outright prohibitions on commercial cannabis operations exist in certain counties and towns.

Where to Get Permits or Growing Marijuana In California

-Growing six plants or fewer for personal use does not require a license.

-Patients who use cannabis for medical purposes should get an MMIC (Medical Marijuana Identification Card) from the county health office.

-The CDFA's CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing program is the means by which licenses for commercial cultivation are acquired.

-It is important to secure cultivation areas to keep out unwanted visitors, especially children.

-When it comes to the usage of pesticides, water, and waste management, commercial cultivators have to go by environmental rules.

-State cultivation taxes and license fees are applicable to commercial growers.

-Local and state regulations pertaining to cannabis are constantly changing. It's critical to remain current on the newest laws.

-Check local laws wherever possible, as they may have stronger rules than those found in the state.

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-To guarantee complete compliance with all regulatory, zoning, and business requirements, it is advisable to obtain legal counsel before engaging in commercial growing.

Growing Weed In California FAQ's

How much weed is a felony in California?

You risk substantially longer jail time and far bigger fines if you are found in possession of more than 28.5 grams of marijuana. Because prosecutors may decide to charge you with a misdemeanor or a felony based on the particulars of your case and your criminal history, this sort of crime is also known as a “wobbler.”

Is owning a dispensary in California profitable?

A MJBizDaily survey indicates that the typical dispensary owner earns between $250,000 and $500,000. A tiny minority of dispensary operators do, nevertheless, earn more to $1,000,000 annually. With a 12% profit margin, the typical dispensary generates approximately $2 million in sales annually.

How much does California make off weed?

The legalization of marijuana for recreational use is beneficial to state coffers. Cannabis taxes already bring in more than $1 billion annually for California. Many other states with robust marketplaces bring in hundreds of millions of dollars annually.

Can you grow weed in California?

Inside a single dwelling, those over 21 and those over 18 with a valid medicinal marijuana prescription are permitted to cultivate up to six plants. Regardless of the number of tenants, each residence is limited to six plants.

How many weed plants can you grow in California?

If you are at least 21 years old, you are allowed to grow up to 6 cannabis plants at home. You are not allowed to utilize volatile solvents like butane or propane if you turn cannabis into a product. Certain counties and localities have laws governing home grows, such as those requiring permits or indoor growth.

How much weed can you grow in California?

According to current state legislation, anyone in California who is at least 21 years old may grow up to six cannabis plants in a private home. Couples and housemates are thus restricted to a total of six marijuana plants, not 6 plants per each person.

Learn How to Legally Grow Weed in California

Are you interested in learning how to get started growing weed from the comfort of your home? Whether you want to grow indoors or outdoors, Cannabis Training University’s online marijuana training programs provides you a step-by-step guide on growing weed.

Whether you need a course in marijuana 101 or are ready to learn in-depth techniques about cannabis growing we have you covered.

Even if you've never gardened before, our curriculum breaks down the science of cultivation and the cannabis plants. Plus, additional online cannabis training courses give you the knowledge to make your own cannabis edibles, topicals, and even start your cannabis career.

Luis Cordova
Luis Cordova

Luis Cordova is a distinguished author, and renowned expert in cannabis cultivation, who possesses a Master's degree in Plant Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Science. As a valued contributor to highly esteemed publications such as Cannabis Training University and Maximum Yield Magazine, Luis has emerged as a trusted source of guidance and knowledge in the cannabis industry. Having written thousands of informative articles, Luis is widely recognized for his comprehensive expertise on cultivating cannabis, both indoors and outdoors.

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