Let’s Talk Cannabis
Cannabis (marijuana, weed, pot, etc.) in California is legal for both medical and recreational use. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is providing the facts to increase awareness about cannabis and how it affects our minds, bodies and overall health.
Can I use cannabis?
Under California law, adults 21 or older can buy, use, carry and grow cannabis without a valid physician’s recommendation or a county-issued medical marijuana identification card.
Use of medical cannabis is also legal under California law if you have a valid physician’s recommendation or a valid county-issued medical marijuana identification card. To buy, medicinal cannabis, you must be 18 older and have either a valid physician’s recommendation, a valid county-issued medical marijuana identification card, or be a Primary Caregiver as defined in Health and Safety Code Section 11362.7 (d) or 11362.5 (e), with a valid physician’s recommendation for the patient.
Where can I buy cannabis?
You can only buy cannabis at retail outlets licensed by the California Bureau of Cannabis Control. Medicinal cannabis patients can only buy from a licensed medicinal retailer.
Where can I use cannabis?
You can use cannabis on private property. You cannot use, smoke, eat or vape cannabis in public places and you cannot smoke cannabis or cannabis products in places where it is illegal to smoke tobacco. Property owners may ban the use and possession of cannabis on their privately-owned properties. You cannot use cannabis within 1,000 feet of a school, daycare center or youth center while children are present.
Can I get a DUI if I drive while I am high?
Yes. If you are under the influence of cannabis while operating a car, boat or other vehicle, a law enforcement officer can pull you over and conduct a sobriety test. Cannabis can negatively affect the skills you need to drive safely, including reaction time, coordination and concentration.
What about federal law?
Even though it is legal under California law, you cannot consume or possess cannabis on federal lands like national parks, even if the park is in California. It is illegal to take cannabis across state lines, even if you are traveling to another state where cannabis is legal.
Can secondhand cannabis smoke affect nonsmokers and children?
Yes. Secondhand cannabis smoke contains tetrahydrocannabinol and many of the same toxins and chemicals found in tobacco smoke. These toxins can be harmful to those around you, especially babies and children.
Is cannabis harmful to teens and young adults?
Yes. The brain is still developing until a person reaches their mid-20s. Using cannabis regularly in your teens and early 20s may lead to physical changes in your brain. Cannabis can harm a young person’s memory and ability to learn and pay attention. Some studies suggest a permanent impact as well. These harmful effects may make it harder for youth to achieve their educational and professional goals and impact how successful they are in life. Cannabis use also increases the risk for anxiety, depression suicide and schizophrenia as well as substance use or abuse.
How should I talk to my child or teen about cannabis?
Talk openly and provide guidance about the risks of using cannabis.
Stay positive and focus on how using cannabis can get in the way of achieving goals.
Set shared guidelines and expectations for healthy behaviors.
Be aware of your own attitudes and behaviors.
For more information, visit CDPH at opens in a new windowLet’s Talk Cannabis.
Published in Through the Seasons opens in a new window2019 Summer Edition.opens PDF file