Recreational Marijuana Sales Begin in California Jan. 1

Thursday, December 07, 2017

2018 is just around the corner, and California’s recreational marijuana program is set to launch on January 1. The state is expected to become the country’s largest marijuana market, generating $4.5-$5 billion in annual sales.

Ahead of the Jan. 1 launch of recreational cannabis, here’s what you need to know about the California market:

Who can purchase recreational cannabis?

California is following the lead of other states with recreational marijuana programs and regulating cannabis like alcohol. Recreational marijuana can only be purchased by those 21 or older. Medical marijuana regulations will remain unchanged, and you must be 18 years or older with a valid doctor’s recommendation.

How much marijuana can you possess and can you grow your own marijuana plants?

  • You can possess 28.5 grams of flower, or 8 grams of cannabis concentrate.
  • Individuals can grow up to six plants.
  • Driving while high is illegal, as is using marijuana in a moving vehicle or having an open container of cannabis in the car.
  • Smoking is prohibited in public, including in restaurants, bars, or concert venues. You can smoke in your home or backyard; however, if your lease prohibits smoking, you can’t smoke cannabis in your rental unit.

When and where can Californians buy recreational marijuana?

That’s a little bit more difficult to answer. California is implementing a dual-licensing system between state and local governments. That means that while recreational marijuana will be legal statewide, dispensaries won’t receive a business license unless they have the approval of their city and/or county government. Local governments will be responsible for setting cannabis regulations, and they have the ultimate say in whether or not adult-use cannabis sales will be allowed.

Unfortunately, many local governments are behind in issuing regulations. California’s five largest cities–Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco, and Fresno–are at varying stages in setting guidelines. Depending on where you live, you might have to travel to find a recreational marijuana dispensary.

Additionally, cannabis businesses can only sell or deliver weed between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., so don’t expect to purchase weed at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve.