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Legal and illegal use of marijuana in California

On Behalf of | Feb 1, 2021 | Drug Crimes

Just because California legislation legalized marijuana in 2016 and opened up the market in 2018 does not mean laws or punishment for the drug went away. Even though adults over 21 can purchase and consume marijuana, there are still caveats to its use.

Knowing the ins and outs of possession, consumption and home growing might mean the difference between a perfectly legal act and serious jail time or fines.


According to NORML’s page for California, legal possession is available to adults ages 21 and older up to a single ounce. Any adult can use, sell or give away that ounce to any other legal adult. Having more than one ounce is a misdemeanor charge for which the maximum sentence is a fine of $500 or jail time up to six months.


As Pot Guide reports, California has several stipulations regarding where someone smokes or uses marijuana products. Private residences are usually the only places where use is legal. And depending on the local jurisdiction, it may still be illegal to use marijuana on private property outside in public view. Smoking in public areas, where establishments prohibit tobacco smoking and anywhere within 1,000 feet of a school or youth area is illegal.

Home growing

California residents may keep up to six marijuana plants. Though this limit is per person and per household. So even if four adults lived in the same residence, they could only have six plants growing on-site. Possession may exceed an ounce, but an adult must store anything above an ounce in a locked space.

A drug charge is something that affects a person’s job prospects and future. Following these guidelines intently may avoid wayward charges or provide suitable evidence against one if authorities mistake a person’s use as illegal.