Is Weed Legal in Los Angeles? -

Is Weed Legal in Los Angeles?

This post is part of our Best Dispensary in Los Angeles series, sponsored by Project Cannabis.

Marijuana laws vary state to state, but did you know they also vary from county to county? California legalized weed over 6 years ago, but depending on where you live, there may be more granular regulations put in place. In truth, California drug laws vary, so it’s good to know what’s legal and what’s not in each city so you can avoid any troubles. Los Angeles has its own set of ordinances that seem matter-of-fact if you’re familiar with California marijuana laws, but are important to be aware of as an LA resident.

We want you to consume your cannabis stress-free with complete assurance that you aren’t breaking any laws or overstepping any boundaries. To this end, we created a comprehensive list answering critical questions pertaining to Los Angeles marijuana laws, so you can resume your weed smoking with peace of mind. We’ll cover queries like “is weed legal in Los Angeles” as well as touch on the difference in rules for those with medical marijuana cards and cannabis users who smoke recreationally.

Los Angeles Marijuana Laws

With ever-changing policies in the realm of medical and recreational drugs, you can never be too sure of what is deemed acceptable or prohibited in your city. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a regular cannabis user or simply get high once in a blue moon; it is best to educate yourself, so you can avoid getting reprimanded or penalized. 

Regulations within the cannabis space are enforced to ensure that businesses operate safely, that products being sold are free of contamination and labeled properly, and to inform purchasers of what they are ingesting or consuming. This additional responsibility and liability requires that businesses follow a divergent set of laws. That being said, this article is mainly geared towards individuals.

However, one statute worth noting that pertains to cannabis and businesses is called the MAUCRSA, more commonly known as the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act, The MAUCRSA California law is written and passed by the state legislature, which is then signed into the law by the governor. MAUCRSA includes the fundamental framework for licensing, handling, and enforcement, and the whole state must abide by it.

So that begs the question…is weed legal in LA?

The short answer is yes, weed is legal in Los Angeles. However there are certain age requirements surrounding purchasing, possessing and consuming, marijuana as well as limits on the amount you can legally purchase, possess, or grow. Then there are more detailed policies that every kush lover living in LA should be cognizant of, especially when it comes to recreational use.

For example, Los Angeles Marijuana Laws require that you must reserve consuming, smoking, vaping, or eating cannabis for private settings. It is illegal to do so in public in places such as parks, on sidewalks, near businesses and shops, and places of the like.

When Was Weed Legalized in Los Angeles?

Weed was legalized in California back in 2016, when Proposition 64 was passed by a 57% vote that the use, sale, and cultivation of recreational marijuana should be legal for those aged 21 and over. Below, we will go into detail on what Proposition 64 states is legal and prohibited in regard to marijuana in the state of California. If you’re curious to know how other cities in Southern California regulate marijuana, feel free to refer to our article dissecting San Diego marijuana laws.

Laws for Using Cannabis in Los Angeles

Interestingly enough, you are not allowed to take cannabis across state lines, regardless of whether you are traveling between two states where weed is legal. Before heading over to LAX, ditch the bud or take it before getting to the airport, so you can fly high without worry about getting it confiscated.

Recreational Marijuana Use in Los Angeles

Los Angeles Marijuana laws state that those with medical marijuana cards have different rights than those who are simply using cannabis recreationally, and it should be noted that certain things that are deemed acceptable for those with a card are considered unacceptable for those without one. San Diego recreational marijuana laws are essentially the same as those in LA.

According to Proposition 64, the rules surrounding recreational marijuana use state:

  • Recreational marijuana use is prohibited in public, within 1,000 feet of a school, day care, or youth center where children are present. 
  • Consuming or possessing an open container of weed while driving OR riding as passenger in any motor vehicle, including airplanes, boats, or cars, is illegal. 
  • You also cannot manufacture concentrated cannabis with a volatile solvent (except those who are state-licensed manufacturers)

Medical Marijuana Use in Los Angeles

The legal use of medical marijuana with a card dates all the way back to 1996, when the Compassionate Use Act was passed. If you are hoping to use marijuana for medical purposes, you must get approved by a doctor. Med cards are available for purchase for those 18 or above through the DPH or MMIP program and with appropriate documents and recommendations from certified doctors. You must carry a state approved medical marijuana identification card on you when purchasing, consuming, or in possession of marijuana.

Medical marijuana users must still follow regulations like not smoking in public places. 

Purchasing Cannabis in Los Angeles

So who is able to cop some kush in Los Angeles? How old do they have to be? As stated above, you can purchase medical marijuana as young as 18 years old with proper documentation from your doctor. For everyone else, you must be 21 or over to purchase marijuana. If you’re of age, you can enjoy your pot, and even eat it too at a weed-friendly restaurant in LA!

Possession of Marijuana in Los Angeles

Possession laws are somewhat similar to purchasing. According to marijuana regulations pertaining to LA and the California Health and Safety Code 11357, a person of age 21 or older–or 18 or older with a medical marijuana card–can legally possess up to 1 ounce or roughly 28.5 grams of dried flower or 8 grams of concentrated weed, or no more than 6 marijuana plants at your residence for personal use. 

What Happens if You Get Caught With Weed in LA?

So what happens if you’re shit out of luck (SOL) and you get busted with weed and you are carrying more than legally permitted

Possession of more than the legal amount for personal use can result in a misdemeanor charge, which may lead to 6 months of jail time, anywhere from $500-$1000 in fines, and potential probation if found guilty as charged. Those charged with possession with intent to sell might face more severe consequences. Likewise, if it’s not your first time getting caught with above the legal limit, you can go to jail or pay exorbitant high fees. 

If you are a minor under 21 you can’t possess, use, transport, or cultivate nonmedical marijuana. If you get caught, you’ll be subject to a $100 fine. Minors under 18 are subject to drug counseling, community service, and the wrath of your parents.

And if you get caught with the legal limit and are obeying all regulations, you’re all gravy.

Marijuana Cultivation Laws in Los Angeles

While there is a legal limit for how much weed you can have in your possession, that limit does not apply to those who decide to grow or cultivate cannabis from the comfort of their own home in LA. As stated above, you may cultivate up to 6 marijuana plants per residence. However, all plants and harvest that exceed one ounce must be locked up and kept in hiding, even in your own residence. Local governments determine whether it is ok to cultivate outdoors or indoors–in LA it is ok to do either.

“Gifting” and selling your weed has its own set of restrictions. Sale of marijuana is only acceptable if purchased from licensed retail outlets, as of January 1st, 2018. Meaning, while you can grow your own bud, you still can’t sell it for a profit or exchange it for currency. In fact, unless you are registered and receive approval for a license from the State Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation, you aren’t allowed to cultivate industrial weed for commercial use or for seed production, or to sell weed at all.

Now that we’ve clarified “is weed legal in Los Angeles” it’s time to understand the detailed laws surrounding public use. It is illegal to smoke marijuana in any public areas. So while you can find dispensaries near Universal Studios, you cannot smoke in the park or in places that are deemed public.

Places you are legally allowed to smoke weed in Los Angeles are restricted to private property, which is still subject to any rules or regulations set forth by your landlord. While it is certainly not ok to consume marijuana in a vehicle while it is in motion, you can also get charged for public intoxication in a parked vehicle on the street as it is technically still in public. 

There has been talks of LA opening public places that are specifically ok for cannabis users to smoke at, but as of now, no policies are in place that make public smoking permissible.

Can You Smoke Weed on the Beach in California?

This one can be tricky. Avid marijuana smokers find the beach the perfect paradise to have a relaxing morning or afternoon toke while watching the waves move melodically and calculatedly. While of course you can find a secluded area of the beach to have a smoke, it is still considered illegal as it is a public place. So, unless you are at a private property with beach access, be prepared to be penalized.

Marijuana and the Workplace

LA marijuana laws indisputably affect employment and drug screening in the workplace, but not all establishments care whether you smoke weed or not. Certain companies and startups are becoming more lax about being high off the job as long as employees can pull their weight when in the office. More commonly, though, companies take marijuana possession and drug tests very seriously. If caught, you might get fired, or it might prevent you from getting hired. If caught ON the job, you might never be able to continue in that line of work again, especially if you’re in the medical field.

So is weed legal in LA in a work setting? It really just depends on your line of work and your company culture. Employers have the option to prohibit use of marijuana by their employees, but there is nothing within California marijuana laws mentioning it being a mandatory requirement. 

Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana

Much like driving under the influence of alcohol or other potent substances, driving under the influence of marijuana is considered a crime and is subject to punishment. Because there is a lot of ambiguity around the effects of marijuana on individual users–especially when behind the wheel–regulations state that it is illegal to operate a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana. 

Certain side effects of marijuana are particularly important to consider in conjunction with what is required to operate a vehicle safely. Consuming cannabis can result in a distorted sense of time, drowsiness, trouble focusing, and memory loss which can undoubtedly impair one’s ability to drive. With all that in mind, it is best to stay away from the steering wheel if you plan to consume marijuana. It is a matter of preventing unnecessary accidents from happening and keeping everyone on the roads free of harm’s way.

If you happen to get pulled over while driving under the influence of marijuana, you should know that penalties remain the same for all DUIs. Of course, the prosecution has to prove you were impaired based on certain factors such as driving behavior, when you consumed the weed, statements you’ve made, your appearance, and whether you pass a field sobriety test. 

If you are found guilty or fail to comply, your first DUI can result in up to 6 months in jail, up to $1000 in fines, a license suspension of up to 10 months, and up to 9 months in DUI school. Any more than that, your license will be suspended for much longer, and DUI school will be required for much longer. Fourth DUI is a felony conviction that can include up to 16 months in prison or almost 20 grand in expenses, alongside mandatory treatments. Depending on the severity of the accident, you can face additional charges and prison time. So let’s be safe and stay off the roads when consuming marijuana, kapeesh?

Where to Buy Recreational Weed in Los Angeles

Even though weed is illegal according to federal law, happily, that’s not the case in LA, and there are TONS of unique dispensaries and boutique weed shops where you can buy recreational marijuana. However, there is one in particular that really stands out from the crowd. Project Cannabis is a sleek and contemporary marijuana storefront and delivery service where you’ll find incredible daily deals and high-grade cannabis in all shapes and sizes–flower, edibles, tinctures, topicals, and beyond. Their brick and mortar stores are spread across three locations of LA (DTLA, Studio City, and North Hollywood) as well as in the heart of SOMA of San Francisco. If you’re a first-timer, you can get a full tour and a high-level overview of all the products and brands Project Cannabis carries.

Quality kush, exceptional customer service, unbeatable prices, and exotic products–what more could a cannabis enthusiast want? Project Cannabis’ cutting-edge supply can satisfy your needs. They have flower that will provide a clean buzz, a pre-roll to help you socialize, or an edible to help you relax. 

If don’t feel like trekking across LA to re-up on your weed supply, you can take advantage of their amazing delivery services that feature a vast range of products. Their “buy more, save more” policy ensures that the larger the order, the more savings you’ll get when you place an order for delivery.

While cannabis is still considered contraband in many states, scientific evidence and research-backed studies continue to allude to the fact that it has many healing properties and health benefits. It is uncertain what the future holds for cannabis laws and regulations, but we are seeing greater strides towards decriminalization and social acceptance, so be on alert for changes with marijuana regulations within LA county. In the meantime, check out Project Cannabis’ daily deals, which are available at all locations and get your smoke on–within legal bounds, of course.

About the author: Courtney Pester is a San Diego based San Francisco bred millennial with a passion for design and self-expression.  She prides herself in her charcuterie board making skills and has a soft spot for animals. When she’s not pumping out articles you can catch her playing tennis and enjoying the diversity of events and restaurants San Diego has to offer.

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