On January 1, 2018, California law will allow authorized businesses to grow, sell, and distribute cannabis in California for adult-use. San Francisco will license retailers to sell adult-use cannabis as early as January 6, 2018.

Cannabis for adult use

If you are over 21 and want to buy cannabis for non-medical (recreational) use, you can buy cannabis from some of the same places that currently sell cannabis for medical use. You do not need to register or have a medical permit to do this.

Amount you can buy or carry

Adults can purchase and possess up to 1 ounce (28.5 grams) of cannabis and up to 8 grams of concentrated cannabis. You can have up to 6 cannabis plants in your home, if the property owner allows.

You can only purchase adult-use cannabis from licensed retailers. It is illegal to buy cannabis from establishments or individuals who are not licensed to sell cannabis. Let’s Talk Cannabis has more information on what’s legal for adult-use cannabis in California.

Cannabis for medical use

If you use cannabis to treat a medical condition, nothing will change regarding where you can buy and use cannabis. In 2018, some cannabis retailers may sell cannabis for adult use as well as medical use, but you will still be able to buy medical cannabis at the same stores.

You will still need a Medical Marijuana ID card or physician’s recommendation to buy medical cannabis. You do not pay sales tax if you buy cannabis with a Medical Marijuana ID card.

California’s Let’s Talk Cannabis brochure on medicinal use cannabis has more information on getting a card.

Using cannabis in San Francisco

You cannot smoke, eat, vape, or otherwise use cannabis:

  • in public places, like parks and sidewalks
  • near schools or anywhere children are present (you can’t even possess cannabis at places like day care centers)
  • inside most buildings, like workplaces, restaurants and bars, entertainment venues, and the common areas of multi-unit housing
  • at outdoor public events like music festivals, street fairs and parades

Generally, you can’t smoke or vape cannabis in places where you can’t smoke tobacco.

You can use cannabis in private homes if the owner allows it. You can consume cannabis at a store that has a smoking or a vape lounge.

If you have a Medical Cannabis ID card you can smoke in a Medical Cannabis Dispensary with a smoking area.

Responsible Use

You must lock up cannabis products away of children and pets.

While a fatal overdose from the use of cannabis is unlikely, smoking or eating high concentrations of THC can affect your judgment, perception, and coordination, and may lead to injuries like poisoning or car crashes.


Driving under the influence of cannabis is illegal and you can be arrested, fined, and have your license suspended.

You cannot drive or ride in a vehicle with an open container of cannabis. Cannabis must be sealed or kept in the trunk.

Cannabis at work

Employers can still:

  • have a drug and alcohol free workplace
  • require drug tests for employees
  • turn you down for a job because you use cannabis
  • fire you, demote you, or take other action against you for using cannabis

Buying, selling and growing cannabis

Find out more about what’s legal for adult use, buying, selling and growing cannabis in California.

More information

California’s Let’s Talk Cannabis page on responsible use suggests precautions to take when using cannabis.

California Department of Public Health has more information on what’s legal for growing, buying and giving away adult-use cannabis.

National Academies of Science and the National Institute on Drug Abuse have more information on health and cannabis use, including research on: