California Cannabis Laws

Offense Penalty Incarceration   Max. Fine

Possession

Personal Use

Up to 1 oz No penalty None $ 0
28.5 grams or less, over 18 years, and occurred on school grounds Misdemeanor 10 days $ 500
28.5 grams or less, under 18 years Misdemeanor 10 days* $ 250
More than 28.5 grams Misdemeanor 6 months $ 500

With Intent to Distribute

Any amount Misdemeanor 6 months $ 500
*Detention center

Sale or Delivery

Any amount Misdemeanor 6 months $ 500
Gift of 28.5 grams or less No penalty N/A $ 100
Over 18 years to an individual 14-17 years Felony 3 – 5 years N/A
Over 18 years to an individual under 14 years Felony 3 – 7 years N/A

Cultivation

Up to 6 plants No penalty None $ 0
6 plants or more Misdemeanor 6 months $ 500

Hash & Concentrates

Up to 8 g No penalty None $ 0
8 g or more Misdemeanor 6 months $ 500
Unauthorized manufacture N/A 16 months – 3 years $ 500
Chemical manufacture N/A 3 – 7 years $ 50,000

Paraphernalia

Sale, delivery, possession with intent, and manufacture with intent Misdemeanor 15 days – 6 months $ 500
Involving a minor at least 3 years junior Misdemeanor 1 year $ 1,000

Forfeiture

Vehicles and other property may be seized for controlled substance violations.

Miscellaneous

Using a minor in the unlawful sale or transport of marijuana is a Felony punishable by 3-7 years imprisonment. Inducing a minor to use marijuana is also a Felony punishable by 3-7 years imprisonment.
Any violation of the California Uniform Controlled Substances Act results in a fine up to $150.
A person who participates in the illegal marketing of marijuana is liable for civil damages.
It is a Misdemeanor to loiter in a public place with the intent to commit certain controlled substances offenses.
A controlled substance conviction can result in suspension of driving privileges.

Penalty Details

Marijuana is a Schedule I hallucinogenic substance under the California Uniform Controlled Substances Act.

See

  • California Health & Safety Code § 11054(d)(13) Web Search

Possession for Personal Use

Proposition 64, The Adult Use Marijuana Act, permits adults over 21 years of age who are not participating in the state’s medical cannabis program to legally grow (up to six plants, including all of the harvest from those plants) and to possess personal use quantities of cannabis (up to one ounce of flower and/or up to eight grams of concentrates) while also licensing commercial cannabis production and retail sales. The law took effect on November 9, 2016. Read more »

See

Possession of more than 28.5 grams is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months imprisonment and/or a fine up to $500. If the amount possessed is 28.5 grams or less but the person is 18 years of age or older and the possession occurred on school grounds, the person is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to 10 days imprisonment and/or a fine up to $500. If the offender was younger than 18 years of age, then the offense is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $250 for the first offense and a fine up to $500 or commitment to a detention center for up to 10 days.

See

  • California Health & Safety Code § 11357 Web Search

Possession with Intent to Distribute

Possession with intent to distribute more than one ounce of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by 6 months imprisonment and a fine of $500.

See

Sale/Delivery

Monetary transactions involving the sale or delivery of any amount of marijuana by someone who does not possess a state licensed permit is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a $500 fine. However, gifting marijuana in quantities up to one ounce for no remuneration is legal.

See

  • California Health & Safety Code § 11360 Web Search

Delivery or attempted delivery of any amount of marijuana by an individual aged 18 years or older to an individual who is 14-17 years old is a felony punishable by 3-5 years imprisonment. Delivery or attempted delivery of any amount of marijuana by an individual aged 18 years or older to an individual who is under the age of 14 is a felony punishable by 3-7 years imprisonment. Sale or attempted sale of any amount of marijuana by an individual aged 18 years or older to an individual under 18 years of age is a felony punishable by 3-7 years imprisonment.

See

  • California Health & Safety Code § 11361 Web Search

Cultivation

Proposition 64, The Adult Use Marijuana Act, permits adults over 21 years of age who are not participating in the state’s medical cannabis program to legally grow (up to six plants, including all of the harvest from those plants). The law took effect on November 9, 2016. Read more »

See

Hash & Concentrates

In California, hashish or concentrates are referred to as “concentrated cannabis”. Proposition 64, The Adult Use Marijuana Act, permits adults over 21 years of age who are not participating in the state’s medical cannabis program to possess up to eight grams of concentrates. The law took effect on November 9, 2016. Read more »

See

The penalties associated with the manufacture of hashish or concentrates depends on what method was used during the manufacture. If the manufacturing process involved extraction chemicals, such as butane, then it is considered manufacture by means of chemical synthesis of a controlled substance. Manufacture by means of chemical synthesis of a controlled substance carries a fine no greater than $50,000 and a term of imprisonment of 3, 5, or 7 years as determined by the court. If the manufacturing process utilized screens, presses, or any other means not involving a chemical synthesis, then the offense is considered unauthorized processing of marijuana. Unauthorized processing of marijuana carries a term of imprisonment 16 months, 2 years, or three years as determined by the court.

See

  • California Health & Safety Code §11379.6(a) Web Search
  • California Health & Safety Code §11358 Web Search
  • California Penal Code §1170(h) Web Search
  • People v. Bergen, 166 Cal.App.4th 161 (2008) Web Search

Apart from the provisions mentioned, concentrated cannabis is included within the definition of marijuana for all other offenses, such as intent to sell, providing to a minor, etc. For information concerning those offenses, check the California marijuana laws section of this website.

See

  • California Health & Safety Code §11018 Web Search

Paraphernalia

There is no penalty for the simple possession of marijuana paraphernalia. Sale, delivery, possession with intent to sell or deliver, and manufacture with intent to sell or deliver marijuana paraphernalia is a misdemeanor punishable by 15-180 days imprisonment and/or a fine of $30-$500. Delivery of marijuana paraphernalia by an individual aged 18 years or older to a minor at least 3 years his junior is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year imprisonment and/or a fine up to $1,000.

See

  • California Health & Safety Code § 11364.7 Web Search
  • California Health & Safety Code § 11374 Web Search

Sentencing

Possession for personal use, using or being under the influence of marijuana, presence in a room where a marijuana violation occurs, or cultivation of marijuana if the amount is for personal use are offenses that are eligible for deferred entry of judgment if certain conditions are met. These include: no prior convictions for controlled substances violations; the offense charged did not involve violence; there is no evidence that narcotics or restricted dangerous drugs were involved; the offender has never had probation or parole revoked; the offender has not completed this deferred entry within 5 years of the time of the charged offense; and the offender has no felony convictions within 5 years of the time of the charged offense.

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Probation may be available for marijuana offenses. As a condition of probation for controlled substances violations, offenders must participate in education or treatment if the court determines that it will benefit the offender. Sentences for many violations may not be eligible for probation or suspension if the offender has been previously convicted of a felony offense involving a controlled substance.

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Forfeiture

Vehicles and other property may be seized for controlled substance violations. Upon conviction for sale, possession with intent to distribute, or cultivation of marijuana, the seized property becomes the property of the state. If law enforcement seizes property which it does not intend to use as evidence and the seizing agency does not refer the case to the Attorney General for forfeiture proceedings within 15 days, the property must be returned. If the Attorney General intends to pursue a forfeiture proceeding, then a person claiming interest in the property has 30 days from actual notice or publication of notice of the proceedings to respond.

See

  • California Health & Safety Code §§ 11469-11495 Web Search

Miscellaneous

Involvement of a minor in a drug offense

Using a minor in the unlawful sale or transport of marijuana is a felony punishable by 3-7 years imprisonment. Inducing a minor to use marijuana is also a felony punishable by 3-7 years imprisonment.

See

  • California Health & Safety Code § 11361 Web Search
Drug program fee

Any violation of the California Uniform Controlled Substances Act results in a fine up to $150 in addition to the authorized fine for the offense.

See

  • California Health & Safety Code § 11372.7 Web Search
Drug Dealer Liability Act

A person who participates in the illegal marketing of marijuana is liable for civil damages caused by these actions.

See

  • California Health & Safety Code §§ 11700-11717 Web Search
Loitering for drug activities

It is a misdemeanor to loiter in a public place with the intent to commit certain controlled substances offenses.

See

  • California Health & Safety Code §§ 11530-11538 Web Search
Suspension of Driving Privileges

A controlled substance conviction can result in suspension of driving privileges for up to 3 years if the use of a motor vehicle was used in or incidental to the offense. For each drug-related conviction that a person 13-20 years old may receive, their driving privileges are suspended for 1 year, but if the person does not yet have the privilege to drive, suspension will begin at the time the person becomes legally eligible to drive.

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DRUGGED DRIVING

This state has a per se drugged driving law enacted. In their strictest form, these laws forbid drivers from operating a motor vehicle if they have a detectable level of an illicit drug or drug metabolite (i.e., compounds produced from chemical changes of a drug in the body, but not necessarily psychoactive themselves) present in their bodily fluids above a specific, state-imposed threshold. Further information about cannabinoids and their impact on psychomotor performance is available here. Additional information regarding cannabinoids and proposed per se limits is available here.

HEMP

This state has an active hemp industry or has authorized research. Hemp is a distinct variety of the plant species cannabis sativa L. that contains minimal (less than 1%) amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Various parts of the plant can be utilized in the making of textiles, paper, paints, clothing, plastics, cosmetics, foodstuffs, insulation, animal feed, and other products. For more information see NORML’s Industrial Use section.

LEGALIZATION

This state has legalized marijuana for personal use.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA
QUALIFYING 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 has been recommended by a physician”
PATIENT POSSESSION LIMITS

No possession limits specified

HOME CULTIVATION

Yes, but no cultivation limits are specified.

STATE-LICENSED DISPENSARIES ALLOWED

Democrat Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday, October 9, 2015 signed into law a legislative package of bills that seeks to provide regulations for California’s medical cannabis industry. The Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act creates a new state agency within the Department of Consumer Affairs to develop rules and licensing procedures for authorized medical cannabis dispensaries. Dispensaries must be compliant with local guidelines prior to receiving a state license. State-licensed dispensaries will be permitted to operate on a ‘for profit’ basis. However, the new regulations will not override municipal moratoriums, nor will they prohibit the collection of local sales taxes on marijuana purchases in communities that presently impose them.

The new law takes effect on January 1, 2016. However, regulations under the new law are not expected until early 2017 and licensing is not anticipated to begin until early 2018.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA STATUTES
  • Cal. Health & Saf. Code, §11362.7 (2003)
  • Cal. Health & Saf. Code, §§ 11362.7 – 11362.83 (2003)
  • California Compassionate Use Act 1996, Cal. Health & Saf. Code, § 11362.5 (1996)
CAREGIVERS

Yes, primary caregiver is the individual, designated by a qualified patient or by a person with an identification card, who has consistently assumed responsibility for the housing, health, or safety of that patient or person. The caregiver must be 18 years of age or older (unless the primary caregiver is the parent of a minor child who is a qualified patient or a person with an identification card).

ESTIMATED NUMBER OF REGISTERED PATIENTS
RECIPROCITY

No

CONTACT INFORMATION

For more information on California’s medical marijuana law, please contact:

California NORML
2261 Market Street #278A
San Francisco, CA 94144
(415) 563-5858
http://www.canorml.org/

For detailed information on county or municipal medical marijuana guidelines, please visit:
http://www.canorml.org/medical-marijuana/local-growing-limits-in-California

For a list of California doctors who recommend medical cannabis, please visit:
http://listings.canorml.org/medical-marijuana-doctors-in-California/list.lasso

For a list of California medical cannabis providers, please visit:
http://canorml.org/medical-marijuana/California-collectives-and-dispensaries-guide

Thank you, NORML.ORG for this comprehensive look at California’s cannabis laws.