Are You a Legal Professional?

California Marijuana Laws

California marijuana laws changed drastically with the decriminalization of possession (under 28 grams) and legalization of medical marijuana under the Compassionate Use Act (Proposition 215). It is now akin to a traffic ticket and is only an infraction with no possible jail time involved. But possession with intent to sell, possession or sale of more than 28 grams, and non-medical cultivation of marijuana are still serious crimes in California that often carry prison sentences upon conviction.

Medical Marijuana Protections

In order to qualify for the protections afforded by California's medical cannabis laws, a person must be either a qualified patient or a primary caregiver. A person is considered to be a qualified patient if a physician recommends or approves of their medical use of marijuana. Typically, this means that the doctor will give a written recommendation to the patient as proof of the patient's status that entitles them to use, possess, and cultivate cannabis.

The basics of California marijuana laws are highlighted in the table below. See Drug Manufacturing and Cultivation and Medical Marijuana Laws by State to learn more.

Code Section Health & Safety §11000, et seq.; 11357, et seq.; §11362.5 medical use of marijuana
  • Possession of any concentrated cannabis: prison in county jail up to 1 yr. or fine up to $500 or both;
  • Up to 28.5 grams: infraction and fine of up to $100 (record automatically expunged after 2 years);
  • Over 28.5 grams: prison up to 6 months or fine up to $500 or both;
  • If over 18 and possession under 28.5 grams on grounds of school: misdemeanor and fine up to $500;
  • Under 18 and possession under 28.5 grams on grounds of school: misdemeanor and fine up to $250;
  • Second offense: up to $500 or up to 10 days in juvenile home program
  • Possession for sale: imprisonment in state prison 2-4 yrs. for transporting, selling, etc.
  • If under 28.5 grams: misdemeanor and fine up to $100;
  • Adults who give or sell to, hire or use, or induce a minor under 14 in transporting, selling, giving away, preparing or peddling any marijuana: state prison for 3, 5, 7 years;
  • to a minor over 14: state prison for 3, 4, 5 years

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Research the Law

Related Resources for Marijuana Laws:

Get a Free Case Review

The legalization of medical marijuana has led many to feel that marijuana possession and use aren't "really" illegal. The truth is that marijuana use and possession in California can still result in serious criminal charges. If you get charged with a marijuana crime it is time to contact a local attorney for a free consultation to discuss how they can help with your case.

Next Steps
Contact a qualified attorney.
(e.g., Chicago, IL or 60611)