Legalization of Marijuana in California Under Proposition 64

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It is legal to own and sell marijuana in California although you can only own or sell it under certain amounts, as regulated by Proposition 64, which went into effect on January 1st, 2018. Under Proposition 64, also known as the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, anyone over 21 may purchase up to 28.5 grams (one ounce) of marijuana for recreational use, or 8 grams of concentrated marijuana, also known as hash, from a state-registered and licensed seller.

State-registered Marijuana Sellers

Registered and licensed marijuana sellers cannot be located any closer than 600 feet from any school, a day care center, or any youth centers. Licensed sellers cannot sell to minors under 21 years of age and cannot also sell cigarettes or alcohol (or allow consumption of both) at the same time under one roof. Those who purchase marijuana at a licensed store can also smoke it inside the business, so long as this activity is not visible to those under the age of 21, or in areas that are visible to the general population.

California Regulatory Agencies

The Bureau of Cannabis Control is the state regulator for commercial medicinal and adult use of cannabis. This website has the latest news about cannabis businesses and any updated cannabis regulations. You can find the latest regulations that have gone into effect as of January of 2019.

The Department of Food and Agriculture is the regulatory office that oversees the licensing and regulation of medical marijuana growers under the CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing Division. The latest information in the regulatory cultivation of commercial cannabis, as well as the track-and-trace system for monitoring cannabis growth, sales, compliance, and transportation issues, is found at this website.

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) oversees all licensing and regulating of businesses that product edible marijuana products. The Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch of the CDPH is responsible for licensing of these businesses and maintains an online verification list of those with appropriate licenses to manufacture these goods.

There are other governmental divisions that oversee such issues as regulating environmental impacts of the surrounding ecosystem where marijuana is grown, and also the regulation of using pesticides on the plants.

The legalization of marijuana is also a tax boon for the state, with taxes applied to retail sales of marijuana and the cultivation of marijuana on licensed growers. It is estimated that the marijuana industry, as a whole, could bring in an annual revenue of $1 billion or more.

Penalties for Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Sell

Penalties for those who sell marijuana outside the jurisdiction of state licensing and regulatory laws can face penalties of six months in county jail with a fine of $500 or less. Penalties may go higher if a defendant is a repeat offender. California Health and Safety Code 11359 (2) HSC determines the punishments for violating unlicensed sales of marijuana.

Positive Outcome for Past Convictions

For many defendants who received harsh sentences in the past concerning the use and sales of marijuana, now find themselves able to get reduced sentences, including possible expungements of criminal records.

If you have received a harsher sentence in the past and would like to have your sentence reduced and/or expunged, call us at once for a consultation. 619-234-2300

Author Photo

Kerry L. Armstrong


Attorney Kerry Armstrong opened up his law firm in June 2007. Mr. Armstrong attended Thomas Jefferson School of Law, San Diego, California, and received his B.S. from Middle Tennessee State University. Kerry L. Armstrong became certified by the State Bar of California’s Board of Legal Specialization for criminal law in August 2020, making him one of the few criminal defense attorneys with a criminal law legal specialization certificate in San Diego County.  Between 2014 – 2019, Mr. Armstrong was selected for inclusion in the California Super Lawyers list, an honor only awarded to 5% of the nation’s attorneys.

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