Personal use and cultivation

Possession and consumption

What rules and restrictions govern the personal possession and consumption of cannabis in your jurisdiction?

On January 1, 2018, recreational marijuana possession and use became legal in California, allowing adults aged 21 years old and over to possess, purchase, or give away up to one ounce of dried marijuana or eight grams of concentrated cannabis and to smoke or ingest cannabis or cannabis products (Section 11363.1(a) of the California Health and Safety Code). Cannabis consumption is not permitted in public, locations where smoking tobacco is prohibited, within 1,000 feet of a school, nursery, or youth center while children are present, or while driving or riding in a motor vehicle, or other vehicle used for transportation, except as permitted on the premises of a licensed retailer per local regulations. (See id. and Section 26200(d) of the Business and Professions Code.)

Qualified medical cannabis patients or their designated primary caregiver may possess no more than eight ounces of dried marijuana per qualified patient and maintain no more than six mature or 12 immature marijuana plants (Section 11362.77 of the Health and Safety Code).


What rules and restrictions govern cultivation of cannabis for personal use?

Section 11362.1(a)(3) of the California Health and Safety Code authorizes individuals to possess, cultivate, or process not more than six living cannabis plants within any private residence, and possess the cannabis produced therefrom. A medical marijuana patient or their designated primary caregiver may maintain up to six mature or 12 immature plants. A city or county may enact and enforce “reasonable regulations” on personal cultivation within its jurisdictional boundaries but shall not completely prohibit personal cultivation conducted inside a private residence (Section 11362.2 (b) of the California Health and Safety Code).

Use in and outside the workplace

What statutory and case law (if any) governs employers’ ability to restrict cannabis use both in and outside the workplace? Can cannabis use (even medical use) serve as legal grounds for termination?

In California, employers continue to be able to restrict employees’ use of cannabis both inside and outside work. The influential decision here is Ross v. Ragingwire Telecommunications (70 Cal.Rptr.3d 382 (January 24, 2008)), which held California’s cannabis legalization framework did not address employers’ obligations to accommodate cannabis use, such that employers could continue to rely on federal illegality to screen cannabis users from employment. AB 2069 would have sought to legislate around this decision and provide cannabis users certain job protections; however, the bill died in committee in 2018.