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Is Weed Legal in California: Know More About the Marijuana Laws in the Golden State

In 1996, The Golden State has been the first state in the country to legalize marijuana for medical use. It always had the reputation for being a marijuana-tolerant state. However, it was only on January 1, 2019 when the state finally made recreational marijuana legal.
With the legalization of weed in California, it does not mean that you can use cannabis without limits. The law has specific stipulations, such as the age of the buyers and the quantity of what you can buy. More of this will be discussed in the rest of this post.

1. A Quick History of Marijuana Laws in California

Marijuana was first legalized in California in 1996 through the Proposition 215, which is also known as the Compassionate Use Act. Under the law, citizens can use marijuana for medical purposes, specifically for the treatment of arthritis, nausea, glaucoma, migraines, and other health problems that can be relieved through the use of weed.
In 2010, under the Proposition 19, the people of California voted on whether or not weed will be legalized for recreational use. The official election results showed that 5,333,230 people or 53.5% of those who voted are not in favor of the proposition. Meanwhile, 4,643,592 or 46.5% were in favor. As you can see, the gap is not big.
Meanwhile, in 2016, California voted again for the legalization of recreational pot. Under Proposition 19, an initiative which was also called Adult Use of Marijuana Act, recreation weed will be legal under some limitations, which we will discuss further later. Based on the results of the poll, 7,979,041 people were in favor and 5,987,020 were not in favor.
From the time of the election, it took almost two years before weed is finally made legal in the state. In 2019, Californians welcomed the New Year with a landmark law that allows them to use marijuana legally.

2. Who Can Buy Weed in California?

Now that we have answered the question “is weed legal in California”, the next thing that you are most probably curious about is whether you are eligible or not to make a purchase. Based on the California marijuana laws that are currently in place, as long as you are over the age of 21, you can buy marijuana for whatever purpose it may serve. You need to present a government-issued ID when buying.
If you are 18 to 20 years old, on the other hand, you can still buy marijuana but only for the medical purposes. You need to be enrolled in the medical marijuana program of the state to be able to buy weed.

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3. How Much Weed Can You Buy?

The California weed laws also stipulate the amount of weed that you can buy from one shop. Provided that you are of legal age, you can buy 28.5 grams of marijuana in a day, which is about an ounce. On the other hand, if the marijuana is for medical use, an authorized buyer can purchase up to 8 ounces of weed in a day.

4. How Much Does Marijuana Cost in California?

Sadly, marijuana is not going to be easy on the pocket. In the near future, it is expected to become more affordable as more dispensaries open, forcing them to bring down their prices to keep up with the competition.
The cost will differ depending on where you will have it purchased. On average, expect that you will pay $11 for every gram of weed. This is equal $34 for an eighth of an ounce. However, with the recent wildfires, it is expected that the average cost of marijuana can increase by as much as 20% or $2 per gram.
The high cost of marijuana in California can also be attributed to the 15% tax on sales. It is expected that such tax will help the state government to come up with as much as $1 billion every year. There are also local taxes that can be imposed depending on the city where you will be buying.

5. Where Can You Buy Marijuana in California?

Even if weed is already legal in California, this does not mean that you can buy it in the streets. You have to visit a licensed dispensary. The Bureau of Cannabis Control issues licenses to dispensaries of medical and recreational marijuana.
As of the start of 2019, there are about 1,800 dispensaries in California, but only 94 of them are licensed to sell marijuana for recreational use. According to the law, these retailers are not allowed to sell weed from 10 pm to 6 am.
To make it easier to search for a place where you can buy legal weed, download an application that allows you to see the stores nearest your current location.

6. Can Marijuana be Delivered?

For your convenience, you can opt to have marijuana delivered. This is good for people who do not have the time to visit a dispensary, such as those staying in hotels for a holiday. This is also great for those who would like to buy discretely. There are different marijuana delivery apps depending on the place where you live. Take note that you will have to provide an ID showing that you are of legal age.

7. What Forms of Marijuana Can You Buy?

With the legalization of recreational weed in the state, there has been an emergence of almost any form of weed that you can take. You will have endless choices depending on what you personally prefer.
For a lot of people, they buy dried marijuana. It is sold by the gram and often consumed through smoking or using a portable vaporizer. You can also buy concentrates, tinctures, hash, and edibles. When buying edibles, be careful when it comes to how much you consume. Gummy bears and chocolates may taste good, but you will never know how much high you can get from it.

8. How to Open a Dispensary in California

With the recent legalization of recreational weed in the state, a dispensary becomes an attractive idea for many business-minded individuals. Currently, there are long lines, especially during weekends. The supply is finding it hard to keep up with the demand.
The first thing that you have to do is to obtain local approval, which will depend on the requirements of the county or city government where you wish to operate the dispensary. After this, you will have to secure environmental permits and assessments. Once you have been approved locally, you can now obtain a state license.
Opening a dispensary is not going to be cheap. The initial licensing process will involve four stages – preliminary determination of eligibility, initial ranking, second ranking, and public meeting and City Council final selection. These four stages alone can already cost you as much as $8,000.
Before the application can be processed, the applicant will also have to undergo a criminal background check. The fee will be handled by the applicant, which is $78.

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9. Can You Grow Marijuana at Home?

According to the California weed growing laws, anyone who is 21 years old and above can legally cultivate marijuana at home. However, this does not mean that you can have a large plantation with the intent to sell and distribute commercially. You are allowed to grow only six plants at a time for recreational use. For medical use, you can grow up to 12 plants at a time. The good thing about growing your own marijuana plant is that you can keep the harvest to yourself without limits.
It is also important to note that marijuana should be grown only indoors or in an enclosed environment. A grow tent would be a good place. California growing laws also state that you should not grow it in the garden or in any other place that is visible to the public.

10. Where Can You Smoke Weed?

The law states that you can smoke weed only when you are in a private property, such as your home. Smoking it while walking or driving can get you busted. You cannot smoke in campuses, restaurants, hospitals, parks, bars, and other public places. Once you are caught, expect to pay a fine of about $100 to $250.
If you are renting, take note that the use of cannabis can be banned. Your landlord will have a complete discretion. Most hotels also have a strict policy with regards to smoking weed in their rooms.

11. Can You Smoke Marijuana in Cafes and Bars?

Since recreational marijuana has been legalized only in the beginning of 2019, there are not a lot of places where you can legally use marijuana outside of your private property. There are some open consumption lounges in Oakland, South Lake Tahoe, and San Francisco. There are many cities wanting to have pot lounges similar to Amsterdam, but it is going to take quite some work for the licenses to be approved.

12. Can You Drive After Smoking Marijuana?

Now that weed is legal in California, it is expected that the authorities will be stricter when it comes to the implementation of stoned driving laws. So, to answer the question, you cannot drive after taking marijuana, especially when you are still in a state of high. Driving under the influence of marijuana will get you fined.
Some of the penalties that can be imposed include probation, serving time in a county jail, suspension of driver’s license, and a fine that ranges from $390 to $1,000.
The laws with regards to driving under the influence of marijuana are quite vague. The burden of proof lies on the arresting officer. There are tests that can be done to prove the consumption of marijuana, but it won’t explicitly state how long has it been since you took the drug. Evidences will include interviews, police statements, driving patterns, and physical appearance. You will also most likely go through a Field Sobriety Test.

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13. Can You Transport Marijuana?

You cannot transport marijuana on a plane or across borders, even if your destination is a place where marijuana is also legal. Meanwhile, you can transport weed in your car provided that it is sealed. If the seal is broken or if the container has already been opened, you need to keep it in the trunk when you are driving. Violating this law will constitute a fine of $70.

14. How to Evaluate the Quality of the Weed

Especially for first-time buyers or those who are unaware of what makes a good and bad weed, making the right decision on which one to buy can be a challenge. Do not let your money go to waste. Be responsible enough to evaluate the quality of the product.
A quick visual inspection is one of the best ways to check the quality of the weed that you are buying. Watch out for any sign of pests and diseases. If you are buying from a reputable seller, this should not be much of a problem as they will most probably not sell diseased weed. Also, avoid brown weed. This is a sign of oxidation. It also means that the weed is already old.
It is not just about what the eyes can see. This should also be all about what the nose can smell. That being said, you have to trust your nose to tell the quality of the weed. If it has a pleasing and h2 aroma, it is a good quality weed. On the other hand, if it stinks or has a faint scent, stay away from it.
You should also understand the shelving system that is used to display weed in most dispensaries. Typically, there are three shelves. The ones at the bottom are those that are cheap and of low quality. The ones in the middle are fairly decent, and the ones at the top are premium, which also happens to be the most expensive.
Check the moisture content of the buds or the flowers. If it is too dry or too wet, it can be indicative of poor quality. They can have a poor taste and will also be prone to developing molds and mildews.
Pay attention as well to how the people in the dispensary are handling your weed. Professionals will never handle it with their bare hands. They must use chopsticks or tongs for hygiene purposes.
See to it as well that the buds are free of seeds. Unless you want to grow marijuana, seeds can be a bad thing because they add weight to your weed. This means that you will be paying more and smoking less. Weed with more seeds also tends to deliver lesser psychoactive effects.

Wrap Up

So, is weed legal in California? As it has already been answered in this post, it is legal in the state, regardless if you use it for medical and recreational purposes. However, this does not mean that anyone can smoke marijuana anytime and anywhere. The law specifies the limits of its use, which is important to take note of to avoid being in trouble with the authorities.