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Cannabis Law


The logo of the California Department of Cannabis ControlCalifornia is one of the states with the highest level of cannabis legalization, as both medical and recreational use are legal in California.  California was also the first state to legalize cannabis for medical use in 1996.  Cannabis licensure and sale is now, as of July 2021, regulated by California's Department of Cannabis Control (DCC).  This department was created to consolidate the three agencies that previously participated in cannabis regulation - the Department of Public Health, the Department of Food and Agriculture, and the Department of Consumer Affairs.


The Medicinal and Adult Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA) is the main statute regulating cannabis businesses.  It creates a division in the Business & Professions Code, which outlines the basic framework for licensure, oversight, and enforcement for businesses selling cannabis.  Public access to the Act is linked above, and it is also available on Lexis and Westlaw.

There is also a section in the Health & Safety Code that regulates personal consumption and possession of cannabis.  It sets 21 as the minimum age to purchase recreational-use cannabis; it limits the amount of cannabis individuals can possess; and it sets separate requirements for medical cannabis.  Public access to the law is linked above, and it is also available on Lexis and Westlaw.

Some cities in California have also implemented equity ordinances in an attempt to create a more inclusive marketplace and provide assistance for those negatively impacted by the War on Drugs.  A list of cities that have implemented these ordinances is available here, at the bottom of the page.


All of the regulations made by the Department of Cannabis Control are contained in Title 4, Division 19 of the California Code of Regulations (CCR).  Other regulations on cannabis cultivation are in Title 3 (Food & Agriculture) of the CCR.

Public access to the Titles are linked above, and the CCR is also available on Lexis and Westlaw.

Other California State Resources

The website of the California Department of Cannabis Control has several webpages dedicated to providing information, both for consumers of medicinal cannabis and for those seeking to obtain a license for a cannabis business for all stages of production.  Listed below are links to these webpages:

Information pertaining to consumers of medicinal cannabis 

Information about cannabis cultivation licenses 

Information about cannabis manufacturing licenses 

Information about cannabis distribution licenses 

Information about cannabis retail licenses