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Everything You Need to Know About Legal Weed in California


Even if you weren’t living in California back in 2016, there’s a good chance that you remember hearing about Prop 64. Proposition 64, officially known as the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, legalized weed for recreational use in the state.


But California’s business relationship with weed started two decades earlier. In 1996, California became the first state to legalize weed for medicinal purposes after voters approved Prop. 215 or the Compassionate Use Act.


The state eventually created a regulatory board under the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA) in 2017, which gives power to one governing board to set requirements for weed use in the state.


What’s Legal and What’s Not

Many of those regulations set by the MAUCRSA involve how much you can have and what you can do with it once you have it in your possession. Even though weed is legal for medical and recreational use in California, you can still face criminal charges if you don’t follow the rules.


California law allows adults 21 and older to buy and possess up to one ounce or 28.35 grams of cannabis and up to eight grams of cannabis concentrate for recreational use. The rules differ a bit if you hold a valid medical card, which you only have to be 18 or older to get. You and your caregivers can legally possess up to eight ounces or 226.8 grams of cannabis, and there’s no set limit on the amount of cannabis concentrate you can possess.


It’s also legal to grow weed at home, but you can only grow a certain amount and you must sign up for California’s home cultivation program. You’re allowed to grow up to six plants of any maturity level if you have a qualifying physician’s recommendation. If you already have your medical card, you can grow up to six mature plants or 12 immature plants at home.


Smoking, vaping, or consuming cannabis is illegal in public as well as on private property where property owners have banned it. Party limos and private parties are perfectly fine, and you can book them right online.


There are also rules and regulations for travel within the state of California and if you’re traveling outside of the state. You can legally carry marijuana in your vehicle if you’re driving in-state, but you must have it in a sealed container and in the trunk. If you’re planning to visit California, you can buy weed just like an in-state resident as long as you have a valid ID from another state that shows you’re 21 or older. But if you’re thinking about returning home with it, think again. Traveling across state lines is illegal regardless if you’re driving, flying, or walking.


With the legalization of weed for recreational use came an increase in people using it in one form or another. Even though it’s legal according to the state, some employers still mandate their staff work under drug-free workplace requirements, which ban the use of marijuana. There is currently a push in California to enact legislation that bans employer restrictions on marijuana use off-the-clock. One of the main reasons behind the push is the impact marijuana use is having on the applicant pool for state government jobs. Thousands of applicants are being turned away for all types of positions because the state operates under drug-free workplace requirements.

How Dispensaries Work

Selling weed legally is a little more complicated than just growing some plants and setting up shop because even though it’s legal in California, it’s still illegal according to the federal government.

Weed that’s sold in dispensaries has to meet certain standards set by the California Department of Food and Agriculture. California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) regulates all cannabis grown for commercial, medicinal, and adult recreational use. According to the BCC, all cannabis that is harvested and cannabis products that are manufactured after Jan. 1, 2018, must meet a list of requirements to be sold in the state. Lab tests are conducted, and products are analyzed based on:

  • Cannabinoids

  • Moisture

  • Chemicals and Residual Solvents

  • Pesticides

  • Microbial Impurities

  • Homogeneity of Edible Products

  • Heavy Metals

  • Water Activity for Edible Products

  • Foreign Material

  • Mycotoxins

  • Terpenoids

If you want to open a dispensary, you need approval from the town or city where you live. Once that’s granted, you then apply with the BCC for either an Adult-Use Retail (A-License) or Medicinal Retail (M-License) and specify whether you want to open a storefront or delivery service. You’ll have to provide quite a bit of information when you apply, but you can apply entirely online.


Tours & Activities for Residents and Visitors

If you’re looking to get the full experience, Weed Bus LA offers several different options. As the premier cannabis concierge service in Los Angeles, Weed Bus LA offers luxury lodging, tours, sensory cannabis grow experiences, and much more.


Weed Bus LA lets you book an entire vacation experience online. That’s where you’ll find a list of weed-friendly private home and apartment rentals as well as bed-and-breakfast style pot pads.

Getting a Medical Marijuana Identification Card

Since weed is legal in California for recreational use, anyone 21 and older can buy it from a dispensary or delivery service. However, if you have a qualifying medical condition, you can apply for a Medical Marijuana Identification Card.


Use of medicinal marijuana is approved for several conditions, including:

  • AIDS

  • Anorexia

  • Arthritis

  • Cachexia (Wasting Syndrome)

  • Cancer

  • Chronic Pain

  • Glaucoma

  • Migraine

  • Muscle Spasms

  • Seizures

  • Severe Long-Term Nausea

  • Any Chronic Condition That Limits a Patient’s Ability to Function Normally

Not every county participates in the Medical Marijuana Identification Card program, but if you want to check if your county does, you can find a list on the Department of Public Health website.


The first step to getting your medical marijuana card is getting a recommendation from a physician. Once you have that, you’ll have to fill out an application and submit it in the county where you live. You’ll also need a photo id and some documentation that proves your residence. Qualified primary caregivers don’t get a separate card of their own; instead, they are included on the patient’s application, and all of the same rules and regulations apply.


One of the biggest differences between buying weed with a medical card and without one is how much you’ll pay. If you have a medical marijuana card, you won’t have to pay sales tax on weed.


Closing Thoughts

The rules and laws surrounding medicinal and recreational marijuana are constantly changing, and that’s to be expected. California was way ahead of the curve when it came to legalizing marijuana for both uses, and in many cases, the state is forced to figure out an industry without any blueprint for what may come next. The rules and regulations can vary from city to city and county to county, so make sure you check the local laws in your area.


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