How Much Weed Can You Carry in California?

Is It Too Much? What You Need To Know About Carrying Weed in California

This post is part of our Best Dispensary in San Diego series, sponsored by Cannabist.

Is weed legal in California? The simple answer is yes. When compared with other states, California’s laws regarding cannabis use and possession have remained fairly progressive over the past few decades.


In 1996, the Compassionate Use Act made California the first state in the country to legalize medicinal marijuana use. Twenty years later, the passage of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act would make recreational cannabis use legal for those 21 years and older beginning January 2018.

But while these actions have greatly expanded marijuana legalization, consumers still have many questions about the laws, including how much weed can you carry in California?

How Much Weed Can You Carry?

The Adult Use of Marijuana Act, or Prop 64, allowed for recreational use of cannabis by persons 21 and older. However, California weed laws still place restrictions on the total cannabis plants or products an individual can carry.

Current legislation allows individuals to carry up to 28.5 grams of cannabis plant products (flower or pre-roll).

This amount is not the same for concentrated marijuana goods—such as shatter, wax weed, or oil. Since these forms have a higher THC potency than plant products, adults are only allowed to carry up to eight grams of concentrate. Marijuana edibles are infused with concentrates and extracts, so they hold the same carrying restrictions as concentrate products.

To make things easier to calculate, you don’t have to worry about it becoming an either/or situation if you enjoy both types of products. In these situations, you can carry up to 28.5 grams of cannabis plant products and eight grams of concentrate at the same time.

But what does that really look like? If you enjoy half-gram joints, the legal limit for weed in California would allow you to carry up to 57 pre-rolls. And if you like half-gram vape pen cartridges, you could carry up to 16 carts in California.

A portion of the weed selection at Cannabist, 4645 De Soto St., voted San Diego’s best dispensary.

How Much Weed Can You Purchase? 

If you’re headed to a dispensary in San Diego or another Golden State locale, you might wonder: How much weed can you buy in California under Prop 64?

In general, the restrictions are pretty much the same as for carrying. So long as you’re 21 years of age or older, you can purchase 28.5 grams of cannabis plants and eight grams of cannabis concentrate from a licensed retailer.

These restrictions are held upon the individual per day. In other words, you couldn’t buy the maximum amount from a store, leave, and immediately re enter to purchase more. To adhere to the law, you’d have to wait until the next day to purchase more cannabis goods.

How Much Weed Can You Carry in California With A Marijuana Card?

The legalization of recreational marijuana in California led to some initial confusion about the ways medical cannabis users would be impacted by new laws. Fortunately, the state’s Medicinal and Adult Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (also enacted in January 2018) helped clear the rules up.

Some California residents can qualify for a Medical Marijuana Identification Card with a medical provider’s approval. Possessing a valid ID allows a patient—or their caregiver—to purchase and carry higher quantities of cannabis products than what’s allowed under Prop 64.

So, can you buy a pound of weed legally in California with a valid Medical Marijuana Card? Not quite.

If you have a medical marijuana ID in California, you can possess and transport up to eight ounces of cannabis product. This amount applies to both dried cannabis plants and concentrate products. Cardholders are also allowed to have up to six mature marijuana plants or up to 12 immature marijuana plants for home cultivation. 

Another advantage of purchasing weed with a medical card is that you aren’t subject to the same taxes that apply to recreational customers.

Project Cannabis, 1555 Newton St., a popular dispensary in West Hollywood.

Traveling with Marijuana  

Traveling from California with cannabis products can be tricky depending on your destination.

For example, if you’re staying in California and driving from San Diego to San Francisco, you can carry the legal amounts of cannabis as stated above. However, California cannabis laws dictate that these products should remain sealed during travel.

If you’re driving or flying across state lines, federal law makes it illegal to transport cannabis. This is true even if you are going from one weed-legal state to another—such as California to Oregon.

While these are the laws, you might still wonder how much weed can you carry in California airports? Authorities at LAX, for instance, will technically allow you into the airport with the legal quantities of cannabis goods in your carry-on luggage. However, TSA and the authorities of your intended destination can still take action if you carry marijuana. For this reason, it’s best to keep your marijuana in California until federal laws ease up.


Once you’re clear on the legalities of buying and carrying cannabis in California, there are plenty of ways to experience this perk of the Golden State. If you’re visiting SoCal, stop by a dispensary in San Diego to explore a full range of recreational marijuana products—including vape pens, lotions, and tinctures. And if you’re new to the experience, trust in a local budtender to guide you toward the products designed for your intended goals—such as pain relief or better sleep.


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