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California Marijuana News and Politics

U.S. Senators

Boxer, Barbara - (D - CA)

112 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510

(202) 224-3553


Sen. Boxer is retiring in 2016


Feinstein, Dianne - (D - CA)

331 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510

(202) 224-3841



State marijuana law from

California marijuana laws changed drastically with the decriminalization of possession (under 28 grams) and legalization of medical marijuana under the Compassionate Use Act (Proposition 215). It is now akin to a traffic ticket and is only an infraction with no possible jail time involved. But possession with intent to sell, possession or sale of more than 28 grams, and non-medical cultivation of marijuana are still serious crimes in California that often carry prison sentences upon conviction.

Medical Marijuana Protections

In order to qualify for the protections afforded by California's medical cannabis laws, a person must be either a qualified patient or a primary caregiver. A person is considered to be a qualified patient if a physician recommends or approves of their medical use of marijuana. Typically, this means that the doctor will give a written recommendation to the patient as proof of the patient's status that entitles them to use, possess, and cultivate cannabis.

Marijuana Policy Project on California: 

Last update: November 16, 2015

MPP is proud to support the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA), which will empower California voters to end marijuana prohibition in 2016 and replace it with a more sensible system. We look forward to working with the initiative proponents and doing whatever we can to help pass this measure and make history in California next year.

Under the proposed initiative, marijuana would be regulated, taxed, and treated similarly to alcohol. Adults would no longer be punished simply for possessing it, and law enforcement officials would be able to spend more time addressing serious crimes. It would take marijuana sales out of the underground market and marijuana cultivation out of California neighborhoods and national forests. The fact that it would generate hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue each year is a huge bonus that would benefit all Californians.

In October, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law three pieces of legislation that will together regulate businesses serving medical marijuana patients in the largest program in the nation. The Department of Consumer Affairs and other regulatory agencies have until January 2017 to adopt rules overseeing the industry, and those rules are expected to go into effect in 2018. For an overview of the new laws, see our summary available here. Also this year, the legislature and governor approved a bill, spearheaded by Americans for Safe Access, to stop discrimination against medical marijuana patients awaiting organ transplants. The landscape of marijuana-related laws is shifting, and be sure you don’t miss out. If you haven’t done so already, please sign up for our email alerts to stay current on latest events!

The current legal status of marijuana in California

Under California law, possessing up to an ounce or less of marijuana is a civil infraction similar to a speeding ticket. While this is a more reasonable approach than many states take, California is still punishing tens of thousands of responsible adults for possessing a substance that is objectively safer than both alcohol and tobacco. A 2015 PPIC poll found that 55% of Californians believe marijuana should be legalized.

One of the most tragic failures in the war on marijuana is how hard it impacts racial minorities. The ACLU’s 2013 report entitled “The War on Marijuana in Black and White” shows that where blacks represent 6.7% of the population in California, they account for 16.3% of the arrests (or citations) for marijuana, while rates of usage are virtually the same between black and white populations.

It is true that California’s marijuana laws are not as draconian as some other states, but the state is still wasting precious resources on citing, arresting, and prosecuting marijuana offenders, while ensuring the profits of marijuana sales go to criminals instead of responsible businesses and supporting the state budget. And despite its reputation as being easy-going with respect to marijuana possession and use, California arrested or cited over 21,000 people in 2012 for marijuana-related offenses.

California Cannabis News


The Cannabis Equity Act, Senate Bill 1294, was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, Wednesday, groundbreaking legislation that aims to reverse some of the damaging impacts cannabis prohibition has had on individuals from disadvantaged communities.

Tears streamed down Jana Adams’ face Friday when her attorney delivered the news by phone that her 5-year-old daughter, Brooke, can continue attending public elementary school — and bring with her the cannabis-based medication she needs.

California is on the verge of creating a first-of-its-kind safety net for marijuana retailers to deposit cash gleaned from legal pot sales.

California lawmakers moved Wednesday to create a state-backed bank to handle the billions of dollars flowing from the newly legal recreational marijuana market.