FAQ: General Information on Personal Cannabis Activity

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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.

Please click here to download the Guide to Adult-Use Cannabis Sales and Consumption Within the City of Los Angeles: http://cannabis.lacity.org/resources

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Where can I buy legal cannabis in the City?

View the list of authorized cannabis retail businesses in the City here.

Can I sell cannabis in the City?

You may only sell cannabis or engage in any other form of Commercial Cannabis Activity if you obtain a State license and a City license. Persons engaged in unlicensed commercial cannabis activity may be subject to civil and criminal enforcement actions.

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.

Are there any public health resources about cannabis in California?

Yes. The California Department of Public Health has established and launched “Let’s Talk Cannabis” a public information campaign to increase awareness about cannabis and its impacts on health.

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 atcannabis.lacity.org.

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.

How do I file a Public Records Request with the Department of Cannabis Regulation?

Those seeking public records may submit a request to dcrcprarequests@lacity.org with the subject line “Public Records Request.” Please try to identify the records you seek with as much specificity as possible. The Department will respond with any appropriate records or a status update within 10 calendar days. You may also be able to find certain public records and licensee information on the Bureau of Cannabis Control’s website, the Department of Food & Agriculture’s website, and the Department of Public Heath’s website. Please keep in mind that some records are exempt from disclosure under the California Public Records Act.

What is my recourse if a neighbor in my multi-unit residential building is consuming cannabis?

According to the California Department of Public Health, an individual can consume cannabis on private property but you cannot consume, smoke, eat, or vape cannabis in public places. Property owners and landlords may ban the use and possession of cannabis on their properties. As such, the constituents' best course of action may be to talk with the property managers and/or landlords to determine the policies governing smoking (cannabis or otherwise) in their multi-unit residence.

The Department of Cannabis Regulation has also created a brochure aimed at helping community members understand cannabis laws in Los Angeles and California.