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Let’s talk about California marijuana laws in 2020. Below, you’ll find a complete rundown on everything you need to know about California’s marijuana laws in 2020. Whether you’re a visitor to the Golden State or local looking to try marijuana for the first time, it’s important to be mindful of California’s unique marijuana rules and regulations.

Is Marijuana Legal In California?

Before we get into the legislative details of medical and recreational cannabis laws in California, we must answer the burning question on everyone’s mind, “is marijuana legal in California.” The short answer is: yes. Weed is legal for both medical and recreational purposes. Adults over 21 and medical cardholders 18 and older can grow, buy, and possess marijuana. Minors with medical conditions can get a physician’s approval to use marijuana as a treatment, too.

The History Of California Cannabis Laws

California residents passed the Compassionate Use Act in 1996 allowing medical patients and caregivers to possess and cultivate cannabis for medical use. California was the first state to pass a medical marijuana law in the U.S.

On Nov. 8, 2016, Californians passed the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (Proposition 64) allowing adults to consume, possess, and grow cannabis. California’s recreational sales started in January 2018. Under the recreational cannabis law, tax revenue would fund community programs and the criminal justice system. The law also requires strict testing, packaging, and labeling requirements for public safety.

Medical Cannabis Laws In California

Medical marijuana patients in California are able to possess an amount of marijuana “consistent with the patient’s needs.” There are also no cultivation limits for medical cannabis patients. Patients in California can qualify for treatment with medical marijuana if they have at least one of the following qualifying medical conditions:

  • Anorexia
  • Arthritis
  • Cachexia
  • Cancer
  • Chronic Pain
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Glaucoma
  • Migraine
  • Persistent muscle spasms
  • Severe nausea
  • Seizures
  • Any debilitating illness where the medical use of marijuana has been “deemed appropriate and had been recommended by a physician”

How to Apply For A Medical Card In California

If you’re a qualifying patient, you can obtain a medical marijuana card in California by visiting the California Department of Public Health’s (DPH) medical marijuana registration site. You’ll need to have proof of residency and a valid copy of a government-issued ID handy.

Medical patients must obtain a written recommendation from a physician confirming a medical condition that can be treated with medical cannabis. Medical patients may also designate a caregiver to grow or obtain medical marijuana for them. A caregiver in California must be 18 years of age or older.

Once all the medical marijuana application is completed and all the documents are gathered, submit the application and await your medical card in the mail within weeks. With a medical card, you can purchase medical cannabis from a licensed dispensary. Medical cardholders are exempt from sales tax.

Recreational Cannabis Laws In California

California’s recreational cannabis law allows adults over 21 to possess, purchase, and consume cannabis. Recreational consumers are allowed to possess 28.5 grams (about an ounce) of marijuana material and eight grams of cannabis concentrate. California allows non-residents with a valid photo ID to purchase recreational marijuana. Recreational patients are subject to a 15 percent excise tax plus any local government taxes.

Recreational patients can grow up to six marijuana plants for personal use at their homes. Local governments can impose reasonable restrictions on cultivation, but not prohibit cultivation indoors in a residence that is fully enclosed and secure. Landlords can also prohibit cannabis smoking on their premises.

What Not To Do In California

Under California’s cannabis laws, users are not allowed to smoke, vaporize, or ingest marijuana or marijuana products in any public space ($100 infraction). Some local governments may permit on-site consumption at licensed facilities. Smoking on federal lands such as national parks, however, is illegal.


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Users may also not smoke or vaporize marijuana in a non-smoking area or within 1,000 feet of a school, daycare, or youth center while children are present ($250 infraction). Users may not possess an open container of cannabis while driving or riding a motor vehicle, boat, or airplane ($250 fine). Cannabis must be in the trunk. Passengers are also not allowed to use cannabis while in a car.

If you’re a visitor from another state or country, it is illegal to transport cannabis you bought in California across state lines, even if you’re traveling to another state where cannabis is legal. Despite this rule, many out-of-state visitors continue to purchase weed from legal states and bring them back home.

Marijuana Laws In The Workplace

Despite recreational and medical marijuana’s legality in California, California’s cannabis laws allow employers to maintain a drug and alcohol-free workplace. Employers can still drug test new or current employees for marijuana compounds such as THC. California employees should be mindful of their employer’s policy on medical cannabis use.

New 2020 California Marijuana Laws

A number of new 2020 California marijuana laws went into effect at the beginning of the year. Furthermore, numerous cases against the Bureau are set to change California’s delivery marketplace. Here are just a few of California’s new laws taking effect.

On Jan. 1, 2020, three marijuana laws took effect in California. Senate Bill 34 allows licensed businesses to donate cannabis products for medical cannabis patients who need it. Assembly Bill 37 allows cannabis business owners to deduct related business expenses. Assembly Bill 1810 prohibits cannabis consumption in limos, taxis, and other commercial vehicles.

The status of cannabis deliveries is up for debate in California. The California Bureau of Cannabis Control allows deliveries into communities that don’t allow marijuana businesses. One county and 24 cities have sued the bureau to retain their right to ban cannabis in their community. The hearing for these cases will take place during 2020.

In September 2018, the legislature approved Assembly Bill 1793, which requires the state to proactively track down eligible cases for expungement. Local prosecutors have until July 1, 2020 to process eligible cases which could help hundreds of thousands of people be eligible for jobs and federal benefits.

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California Cannabis Training

Learn all about California’s medical and recreational laws presented by the country’s leading marijuana defense attorneys. Cannabis Training University teaches you the history of medical marijuana legislation and the rise of recreational cannabis use.

CTU’s California marijuana college can teach you how to become a cannabis patient or caregiver in California or in any other legal medical cannabis state. Our marijuana training program also teaches you how to get California marijuana jobs and cannabis job opportunities in other legal states, too.

For more information about the legality of cannabis and using cannabis responsibly, sign up for CTU’s cannabis courses online today.

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