If you’re wondering how to buy legal weed in California, look no further. This simple, comprehensive guide explains the fastest and easiest way to enjoy recreational cannabis in The Golden State.
What To Know About Recreational Weed Laws in California
Although California has one of the oldest medical cannabis programs in the country, the state only legalized recreational use last year. In the November 2016 general election, Californians passed Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act.
So recreational weed is legal in California for adults 21 years of age and older. But there’s a catch. Licensed cannabis dispensaries can’t sell recreational weed until 2018. This makes knowing how to buy legal weed in California a bit tricky. But don’t worry, we have the answers.
The only tricky part is buying weed from a dispensary. You’ll need a medical marijuana recommendation from a participating physician to do that.
However, if you know a friend or meet a kind stranger who happens to gift you some weed, you’re in the clear. Under the AUMA, you can legally possess up to an ounce of cannabis. And that’s probably a bit more than you’ll need for your stay!
Before You Leave For California
There’s a gray area in the law that means you’ll have to think strategically about what to bring with you to California. The uncertainty is whether cannabis is only legal for Californians, or for visitors to the state, too.
Some doctor offices and dispensaries are strict about state-only IDs. If you’re not from California, you won’t have one of these.
However, if you have any other form of government issued photo ID, like a passport, make sure to bring it! Many businesses and doctors will accept such an ID instead of a California driver’s license or ID card.
Related to this, you’ll need an address in California for your paperwork. The address for wherever you’re staying will work just fine.
Additionally, make sure you bring any medical paperwork with you that might help you document a condition California recognizes as treatable with medical marijuana. In California, the list is expansive, including things like insomnia, stress, and lack of appetite.
One last thing you’ll need is cash. Federal prohibitions prevent legal cannabis businesses from using banks and other financial services. So you’ll be paying for everything in hard currency.
How To Buy Legal Weed In California Once You Arrive
If you want to buy cannabis at a dispensary in California, you’re going need a recommendation from a doctor. Folks call this their “weed card,” but it’s really a piece of paper certifying you as a medical cannabis patient.
To get that recommendation, follow these steps.
- Find a doctor’s office that accepts non-state or out-of-state IDs. You can call around to various offices, or check websites. Offices in more tourist-heavy areas tend to be laxer about ID requirements.
- Make an appointment. Many offices welcome walk-ins, but you can avoid the sometimes long wait times by scheduling ahead.
- Prepare to answer questions about your desire to use marijuana for medical reasons. Even if you’re a recreational user, you should think of a few therapeutic reasons for seeking your medical marijuana card.
- Pay up. Expect to pay anywhere from $35 to $50 for your doctor’s recommendation. If you want to have a wallet-sized, legit weed card, that’ll cost you another $20 on average.
It’s also totally possible to get your recommendation letter online. The good news is the same steps apply whether you are online or in person.
What To Expect At The Dispensary
Congratulations! You got your recommendation letter. Now you have unlimited power to buy as much legal cannabis as you want! (Up to an ounce, of course.)
But before you get ahead of yourself, here’s some advice about how to make the most out of your trip to the dispensary.
Remember, in California, not having a state-issued ID could hold you up. So before you leave the doctor’s office, don’t forget this crucial step. Ask them to recommend dispensaries and delivery services that accept non-state IDs, like your passport. They’ll point you in the right direction.
Once you’ve chosen the perfect dispensary for you, here’s how to buy.
- Bring your documents. Make sure to bring your recommendation letter or medical marijuana card and your ID with you.
- Register. When you arrive, expect some security. Most dispensaries keep their product behind locked doors. You’ll walk into a lobby where receptionists will review your documents and register you as a patient. You have to register with every dispensary you visit for the first time.
- Buy wisely. When you enter the dispensary, try to contain your excitement! If you’re new to this, you’ll be overwhelmed by the choices. On top of that, budtenders are eager to upsell, and prices drop if you buy more. Thus, it can be very easy to walk out with way more than you could ever hope to eat, smoke, vape, or dab.
- Don’t hang around. Finally, do not touch or open your products after you buy them. Your budtender will package your goodies up in a discreet container. You may be excited to peep at them on your way out of the store. But it’s illegal to consume cannabis in public. And dispensaries are tightly regulated. So once you receive your purchase, it’s time to leave.
Alternatively, if all that dispensary stuff seems intimidating—it’s really not—you can have your cannabis delivered right to you. This works the same way as with storefronts. You register with the dispensary providing the service and send electronic proof of your documents.
Where Can You Enjoy Your Legal Weed
Now that you bought some legal weed, it’s yours to enjoy! You can keep it all to yourself, or gift some of it to other adults 21 and over. But one thing you can’t do is enjoy it in public. Legally, you can only consume cannabis, smoking or otherwise, in a private residence.
Final Hit: How To Buy Legal Weed In California
So to sum up, here are the keys to knowing how to buy legal weed in California:
- Paperwork. A government-issued photo ID and a California address.
- Medical reasons for using cannabis. You won’t have trouble thinking of some.
- Do some research ahead of time to find doctors and dispensaries that accept non-state IDs.
- Register at a dispensary or with a delivery service.
- Enjoy your legal cannabis in a private place.