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Weed Rules In Los Angeles: Everything You Need To Know

From buying to growing, weed in LA has a lot of rules. Here are the ones you should know.

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In recent years we have been lucky enough to bear witness to the ever-growing cannabis industry. The laws on marijuana have come a long way, but there is so much more to go. It baffles me to this day how such an innocent plant is looked down upon so viciously. It may be taking some time, but eventually, weed will be as legal as alcohol. 

We wanted to summarize all of the important updated rules around cannabis, especially in the LA area. Regardless of the newer legislation, there are still people serving life sentences for marijuana-related charges. As quickly as we wish to free these actually innocent people, we have a long way to go.  

How Times Have Changed

State and federal laws surrounding marijuana and other narcotics have been around since the early 1900s. With the passing of Proposition 64 in 2018, California could open up a lot more regarding recreational cannabis. Though it is recreationally legal by state law, marijuana remains a Schedule 1 drug under federal law.

Marijuana, a plant, is on a schedule drug list with heroin and LSD. Not sure where the logic is, but as activists, we are always working towards breaking the stigma. 

The first legislation surrounding cannabis was, technically, not even written correctly. In the beginning, it was meant to be under Section 8 of the 1913 Poison Act, which was to restrict the selling of narcotics. Instead, as poor communication seems to run in the government, it was put under an amendment banning all possessions of paraphernalia of any kind.

Fast forward to a new century. We can smoke medical weed legally. However, there are still far too many people incarcerated for holding less than an ounce. Decriminalizing the plant only means it is not viewed as a crime presently.

So if you break the rules now, there probably won’t be a life sentence to follow. The legalization also brought forth a lot more momentum in the cannabis world.    


California was the first state to outlaw cannabis in 1913, only to medically legalize it in 1996 and recreationally in 2018. According to this health and safety code, just because it’s legal doesn’t mean you can’t get in trouble for possession. So what can you do? Well, you cannot carry more than 28.5 grams, which is fine.

I tend not to wander the streets with an ounce of weed in my bra. You must be over 21 years of age unless you have a medical card. 

And I am not sure why this would need to be on the list, but no sparking up around schools while class is in session. You would think that one would be a bit more obvious.

Everything nowadays is fine as long as you have a license for it, right? Not always. Just because you have a medical card or legal age doesn’t mean you are the new mule. You can carry up to an ounce on you but cannot grow more than 6 plants on any unincorporated property. 


So let’s talk about cultivation. How many of these beautiful creations can you actually have ownership of? Well, unless you own a farm, you’re limited to 6 plants. The plants, of course, must be secured away from minors, duh.

If you do happen to get overly excited and plant one more than you intended, then you may be looking at the misdemeanor, which could lead to some jail time (up to 6 months) and/or a $500 fine. So before you plant one more, ask yourself, is it really worth it?

Keep in mind that if you live with a roommate, you can still only grow 6 plants. It is per household, not per person. Keep that shit indoors, unless you own the property, and make sure the public can’t see it. These rules are explaining a lot of why you see people growing weed in their bathtubs.

From Felonies to Misdemeanors

Back when marijuana was first becoming illegal, no one really cared about it, but once it was actually illegal, bam! Everything changed. People started to notice how cannabis users were being purposely prosecuted.

By 1939 it was made a felony to possess or sell any amount of marijuana. As time passed, more and more legislations were created to purposefully punish new and especially repeat offenders.

If you didn’t know, from least to most severe, it goes infraction, misdemeanor, and felony. Felonies are longer than a year and can even include the death penalty. With a felony, you get saddled with a probation officer, fines, and you must remain in the county with the arrest. 

Professional licenses are severely affected in that you could lose them. And, of course, getting a job becomes almost impossible. If it was allowable, a marijuana felony charge could be reduced to a misdemeanor.

A misdemeanor is much less serious than a felony but more serious than an infraction. In recent years, and I mean since 2018, the laws have become more and more flexible around marijuana. Or it seems as though they have.

A misdemeanor is really just a slap on the wrist. The only time any cannabis-related activity will really receive a felony charge is when dealing with minors or if you have a more serious criminal past.

Updated Records

If you or someone you know was ever charged with possession, the passing of Prop 64 was probably a bit of a helping hand for them. With the decriminalization of marijuana, an expungement was provided for low-level drug offenses for thousands and thousands of people. Most of whom are men of color.

Along with expunged records, if a person is still locked up, they can apply for resentencing. With this resentencing, rights that were not allowed with a felony are now accessible, so like buying a gun, I guess if that’s your thing or losing the probation officer.

Tax That Ass Up

If you thought living in California was expensive before, then your opinions are still valid. Since the legalization of recreational adult-use marijuana, the government has found a whole new way to take advantage of us. Their favorite, taxes!

We all hate them, we all (probably) pay them, and yes, now they are being used for legal cannabis. Of course, being able to tax marijuana was probably what helped push the passage of its legalization.

Perks Of A Medical Card

Photo by goodmanphoto / Adobe Stock Photo

Getting a medical marijuana card in California is as easy as packing a bowl. Of course, there is a fine to pay, but it’s worth it to be able to grow, possess, transport, and/or use medical marijuana. The most obvious perk is being able to shove it in the face of authority.

Not literally, but the Medical Marijuana Identification Card Program (MMICP) allows patients to apply for a medical card for themselves and/or their caregivers. The MMICP allows patients to grow more than 6 plants; basically, it’s whatever you need.

To Sum…

Although the recreational and medical use of marijuana is now legal in the state, we have a long federal road to burn down. If you are not from the city, make sure you read up on the rules before going dispensary hopping in LA. The legislation surrounding recreational use is a slightly grey area as there are many, many, many sub-sections to Prop 64.

The most important things to remember: no more than an ounce of possession, no purchasing under 21 years of age (unless you have a medical card), avoid minors, and if you want to grow, keep it under 6 plants. As I said before, we still have a long way to go before we see real marijuana freedom.

August 05, 2021 — Last Updated August 30, 2021
Written by Kiara Concepcion
CaliforniaLos AngelesTHC
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August 05, 2021 — Last Updated August 30, 2021
Written by Kiara Concepcion
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