Top Ten Cannabis FAQs: Los Angeles

May 30, 2019

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1. What does it mean that cannabis is "legal?"

Under California law, adults 21 or older can buy, consume, possess, and grow cannabis up to the limits set by State law. If you are 21 or older, you can buy and possess up to one ounce (28.5 grams) of cannabis and up to eight grams of concentrated cannabis. You can also plant, harvest, dry, and process up to six cannabis plants in your private residence or on the grounds of your residence. If you are 18 or older and have a current qualifying physician’s recommendation, a valid county-issued medical marijuana identification card, or are a Primary Caregiver as defined in Health and Safety Code Section 11362.7(d), you can possess up to eight ounces of dried cannabis and up to six mature or 12 immature cannabis plants, unless the physician’s recommendation specifies a higher amount.

The cultivation, possession, sale and use of cannabis in California may remain unlawful under federal law.

2. May I consume cannabis in public?

No. It is illegal to use, smoke, eat, or vape cannabis in public places or within 1,000 feet of a school, day care center or youth center while children are present. It is also unlawful to smoke cannabis in places where it is illegal to smoke tobacco.

Cannabis may be consumed in a private residence, unless otherwise prohibited by law. Property owners may ban the use and possession of cannabis on their privately-owned properties.

The City currently prohibits onsite consumption of cannabis at licensed cannabis businesses. The City is considering permitting limited onsite consumption at certain licensed cannabis businesses, but no formal decision has been made.

3. Is cannabis still illegal under federal law?

Yes. Cannabis remains a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act, meaning it is illegal under federal law to possess, use, manufacture, distribute or sell cannabis.

4. How much cannabis can I legally have?

If you are 21 or older you can buy and possess up to one ounce (28.5 grams) of cannabis and up to eight grams of concentrated cannabis. You can also plant, harvest, dry, and process up to six cannabis plants in your private residence or on the grounds of your residence. If you are 18 or older and have either have current qualifying physician’s recommendation, a valid county-issued medical marijuana identification card, or are a Primary Caregiver as defined in Health and Safety Code Section 11362.7(d), you can possess up to eight ounces of dried cannabis and up to six mature or 12 immature cannabis plants, unless the physician’s recommendation specifies a higher amount.

5. Can I consume cannabis while driving a vehicle? Are there “open container” cannabis laws?

It is unlawful for a person to consume cannabis while driving. It is also unlawful for a person who is under the influence of cannabis to operate a vehicle.

It is unlawful for a person to possess “open containers” of cannabis -- any receptacle containing any cannabis or cannabis products which has been opened or has a seal broken, or loose cannabis flower not in a container -- while driving, unless placed in the trunk of the vehicle.

6. How will law enforcement determine if a driver is under the influence of cannabis?

Currently, law enforcement may conduct a sobriety test on persons suspected of driving under the influence.

The State of California is establishing an Impaired Driving Taskforce to develop policies that will address the issue of impaired driving under the influence of cannabis and shall examine the use of technology to identify drivers under the influence of cannabis.

7. Can I travel outside of California with cannabis?

No. It is unlawful for a person to transport cannabis across state lines, even when traveling to another state where cannabis is legal.

8. What is commercial cannabis activity?

“Commercial Cannabis Activity” includes the cultivation, possession, manufacture, distribution, processing, storing, laboratory testing, packaging, labeling, transportation, delivery or sale of cannabis and cannabis products.

9. Where do I submit a complaint about cannabis businesses in the City?

You can submit complaints and concerns about a cannabis business through the online complaint portal at cannabis.lacity.org.

10. Do I need to license to sell CBD oil in the City?

CBD oil derived from cannabis, as defined in Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code Sec 26001, may only be manufactured, distributed or sold by a person with a State and City license. DCR does not regulate the sale of CBD oil derived from industrial hemp, as defined in Section 11018.5 of the Cal. Health and Safety Code, and no cannabis-specific City license is required to sell it. Federal and State law may prohibit the sale of some or all forms of CBD oil derived from industrial hemp, but the City cannot advise businesses on whether they are in compliance with those laws. Please refer to the CDPH (here) for more information about CBD oil from industrial hemp.













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