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Cannabis Use in California: 12 Things You Should Know

If you’re a cannabis user who lives in or has recently moved to California, the following information will serve as an easy guide to local laws and other common queries regarding cannabis consumption in the state.


Is it legal to buy and consume marijuana in California?

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Yes. It is legal to buy, consume and grow marijuana in California for medical and recreational purposes. You can purchase cannabis and cannabis products at approved recreational dispensaries by showing a valid government identification indicating you’re 21 years or above.

You can purchase medical marijuana from a medical dispensary if you’re 18 years or older, by presenting a doctor’s recommendation indicating that you need it for treating a qualifying condition or by presenting a county-issued MMID (medical marijuana identification).

You can grow up to six marijuana plants in your home for personal consumption, away from public view.


Does California allow public consumption of marijuana?

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No, public smoking or consumption of marijuana is prohibited across the state. You can consume cannabis in California in private if you’re an adult and have sourced it legally. This means that you may consume cannabis in your place of residence, licensed consumption spaces and other private, enclosed spaces. You may smoke or consume cannabis in the outdoor spaces of your property provided the local council allows it.

Cannabis etiquette calls for discreet use that does not cause inconvenience to others.


What is the difference between medical marijuana and recreational marijuana?

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There is no real difference between the two, as both types contain similar levels of the compound THC, which renders the psychotic effects experienced when you use marijuana in any form, be it smoking, vaping, using tinctures, ingesting or using topical oils, creams and lotions.

Whether you’re using cannabis for medical relief or recreation, knowing your product and controlling the dosage are critical to avoid over-dosing.


What types of cannabis products are sold at California dispensaries?

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In California cannabis is available in many different forms, such as flowers, tinctures, edibles, beverages, sprays, oils, lotions, vaping liquids and more. There are hundreds of cannabis strains available across the state. Your dispensary can guide you regarding the best strains to choose based on the effects you’re seeking.

You can purchase recreational marijuana at retail stores licensed by the California Bureau of Cannabis Control (CBCC). Medical patients can only buy cannabis from a licensed medicinal dispensary. Some dispensaries such as Mission Organic center in San Francisco sell both recreational and medical cannabis products.


Can I share my cannabis stock with a friend?

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You may give your cannabis to someone else, but there are strict rules governing such giveaways. For instance, it is illegal to give away more than one ounce (28.34 grams) of cannabis flowers, and similar limitations apply to other forms. In addition, the receiver must be an adult and you should not receive any monetary compensation from them.


Can I sell cannabis in California?

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You may only sell cannabis if you have a state license and a city license to engage in commercial cannabis activities. These include growing, possessing, storing, manufacturing, testing, distributing, branding, delivering or selling marijuana and marijuana products.


Can I transport marijuana across the state?

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You may carry up to an ounce of marijuana when driving or flying to another city in California. Note that it is illegal to transport cannabis purchased in California to another state. Do check your local laws to be sure how much you can carry. If you’re not an American citizen, you may need additional documentation (such as a medical card) to convince the authorities and avoid being held or deported.


Which medical problems are treated with medical marijuana?

Medical cannabis has been used for treating a wide range of conditions, including arthritis, chronic headaches, asthma, inflammation, skin ailments, Alzheimer’s, nerve diseases, bipolar disorder, PTSD, anxiety, diabetes, insomnia, and epilepsy.

Some lesser-known medical uses of marijuana include the treatment of glaucoma, protection against brain damage, management of lupus and controlling the side effects of Hepatitis C treatment.


Where can I find a doctor to write me a prescription for medical cannabis?

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You can get in touch with any licensed physician in the state for a written recommendation approving the use of medical cannabis for a qualifying condition. A qualifying condition is one that is approved by your state for treatment with medical marijuana.

Once your doctor determines that you would benefit from medical marijuana, they would write you a recommendation and will also advise you about the strain, concentration, and form of medical cannabis that would benefit you most. While some patients would require a CBD-dominant marijuana product, others may need one that’s high on THC. You may also seek guidance in this matter from qualified staff at your local dispensary.


Is it compulsory to get a state ID card as a medical marijuana patient?

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You’re not required to do so, but a state ID gives you extra protection if faced with possible arrest. In addition, patients with a state ID enjoy several other benefits, such as sales tax exemption when buying marijuana at government-approved outlets.

Having an MMID also enables easier access to medical marijuana and dispensary discounts. You and your caregiver can get a state ID from the local health department.


What are marijuana edibles?

Marijuana edibles, also known as medibles, are foods and drinks that contain activated marijuana. These products offer a safer and more convenient alternative to conventional ways of using marijuana.

There is a wide variety of edibles available in California, such as pills, softgels, cakes, cookies, butter, crackers, juices, gummy bears, chocolate bars, cakes, smoothies, and ice cream.


What happens if an underage person is caught with cannabis?

If a person under 21 years of age is found possessing or using cannabis, they’ll need to undergo substance use education and/or community service. They may also face more severe penalties, including a jail term, based on factors such as the quantity of marijuana found on them, place where they’re caught and whether they’re a first-time offender.

A person over 18 years can legally possess or use medical marijuana if they have a valid medical card or doctor’s note to do so.

Written by Ashley Grace

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