When Can Californians Begin Smoking Legal Weed?

At the stroke of midnight on November 9th, 2016, the recreational use of marijuana became legal in the state of California through the passage of Proposition 64.

Immediately afterward I noticed an uptick in KushCA’s traffic, primarily my article “8 Places to Buy Weed in San Francisco and Oakland (Without a Cannabis Card!). People all around this great state were taking to Google to find out when, where and how they could finally blaze on some legit, legal Buddha.

And, most, I found, had no idea how to go about doing that due to the fairly, how shall we say, vague dissemination of Cali’s new pot laws.

That’s because these laws vary by city and county — and 114 such cities and counties exist in the Bay Area alone. A new review has found a vast and often conflicting patchwork of cannabis laws blanketing the Bay Area, as well as the rest of California.


Freelance journalist Spencer Silva took the heady job of discovering and providing us lazy Californians with a comprehensive look at Cali’s new pot laws. For example, Silva found that of the 114 Bay Area cities and counties, only 15 have operational medical cannabis stores, called dispensaries. Here’s the kicker, with so much money to be made from the sale of recreational pot, it’s rather surprising that no Bay Area city or county has issued a local license to run a recreational pot shop. Recreational sales can legally only begin Jan. 1, 2018. Additionally, 43 Bay Area cities and counties have banned the growing of a single recreational cannabis plant on or in your property. Many more are expected to follow in the near future.

So where does that leave you, fellow cannabis consumer?

Under the new law (The Adult Use of Marijuana Act if we want to get technical) you must be 21 years of age or older to smoke weed and can only legally be in possession of no more than an ounce at a time. Additionally, just because your pot is legal now doesn’t mean, like tobacco, you can light up anywhere or whenever you want. If you put that to the test you might find yourself slapped with a $100 fine.

Thinking about opening a cannabis business, now that California has relaxed its marijuana laws? Well, there are steps my friend, and all of them require stepping on Big Brother’s front lawn. You will have to register with the state first, then the Bureau of Marijuana Control will issue you a license to operate after you naturally pay a fee. What this means is medical marijuana dispensaries WILL NOT and cannot sell to those without a medical marijuana card until the shop gets licensed–which is required to happen by January 2018. But lest you forgot, no pot shop has applied for a license yet.

Check out the SF Chronicles new cannabis web site www.GreenState.com  GreenState has a comprehensive collection of all the pot laws for the 114 cities and counties in the Bay Area. Now, you can look up the law in your town and know exactly how much time at your county jail you will have to serve.

Just kidding, it’s not like people are still getting arrested for cannabis, RIGHT?

Petey Wheatstraw

Hi, my name is Petey Wheatstraw. I'm an avid marijuana smoker, writer, devoted father and non-profit minion-- not necessarily in that order. A Chicago native I've lived in the Bay Area since 1996. Click Here for Free Cannabis