In 1996, Proposition 215 made California the first state to legalize the use of medical marijuana.  In 2016, voters passed Proposition 64, legalizing the use of recreational marijuana in California, for adults 21 years old and over.  For personal use, possession of no more than 28.5 grams of marijuana and up to four grams of concentrated cannabis (hashish) is considered legal.

Proposition 64 further permits the sale of marijuana by businesses which comply with state and local licenses.  Involvement in the sale of marijuana without appropriate licensing or to minors constitutes a crime under Health and Safety Code 11358 HS.  Licenses are established through the Bureau of Marijuana Control.  Testing requirements are expected to be established for both medical and recreational cannabis to identify known psychoactive compounds as well as contamination with mold, fungus, pesticides, and other adulterants.  Testing and regulations are being put in place to protect the safety of consumers, and more accurately control dosage.

Changes in legislation and regulations are not entirely seamless.  Cannabis products will no longer be able to contain caffeine, nicotine, dairy, or alcohol, which prevents infused alcohols, alcohol-based tinctures, pre-rolled spliffs, and infused ice cream.  With the state also setting down dosage limits of no more than 10 milligrams in a serving, and no more than 100 milligrams in a single package, medical patients who need high doses are understandably frustrated.

Currently, California’s Compassionate Use Act of 1996 (the “CUA”) allows patients to obtain, possess, cultivate, transport, and use cannabis for any illness, in an amount reasonable to medical needs, with recommendation from a doctor.  Medical cannabis identification cards are issued through the California Department of Public Health’s Medical Marijuana Program (MMP).

Under Proposition 64, recreational usage of marijuana is legal for adults age 21 or older.  This allows adults to possess, transport, process, purchase, obtain, and give away a maximum of one ounce of dry cannabis or eight grams concentrated cannabis.  It is legal to smoke or ingest cannabis, possess marijuana paraphernalia, and plant, harvest, and process up to six live plants.