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When is it illegal to use marijuana in California?

Attitudes toward cannabis have changed dramatically in the past few years. Although recreational and medicinal marijuana are technically legal in our state, the substance is still subject to strict regulation. If you violate one of these regulations, even inadvertently, you may face criminal penalties.

In California, cannabis is not always legal

If you wish to avoid criminal prosecution, it is critical that you understand your rights regarding marijuana in California.

It is against the law to:

  • Possess or use cannabis if younger than 21 years old
  • Possess more than 28.5 grams of cannabis or more than 8 grams of concentrated cannabis
  • Distribute cannabis to anyone under 21 years old
  • Grow or possess more than six live cannabis plants
  • Use cannabis or cannabis products in a public space
  • Consume cannabis or possess loose cannabis while driving
  • Possess or consume cannabis within 1,000 feet of a school or day care center
  • If you do not comply with these regulations, you may face civil and criminal penalties.

What are the penalties for breaking a cannabis law?

The consequences of a drug law violation are often harsh. The state likes to make an example of defendants to discourage potential offenders. The penalties for disobeying a marijuana regulation include:

  • Expensive fines
  • Community service
  • Mandatory drug education programs
  • Probation
  • Jail time

A drug conviction can have a severe impact on your career, education, housing options and personal relationships. If law enforcement accuses you of violating the law or you have questions about cannabis law, you can speak to an attorney.