California Marijuana Compliance

California was the first state to legalize medicinal marijuana. Since then, California marijuana laws have also legalized the use of recreational marijuana.

As of January 1, 2024, a new cannabis regulation took place in California that prohibits employers from drug testing for nonpsychoactive cannabis metabolites. However, businesses still have the right to enforce drug-free workplace policies, especially in safety-sensitive industries, as marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

It's important for business owners to familiarize themselves with marijuana state vs. federal laws. Below are answers to common questions regarding California marijuana compliance laws.

Register for a drug test online by clicking the "Register Now" button below. You can also call (888) 378-2499 with any questions about our drug testing services.

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This Information Is Not Intended for Legal Purposes

The information provided on this page is intended for your own knowledge, and should not be used for legal matters. Since marijuana testing regulations can vary, we advise you to seek the guidance of expert legal counsel when creating your company's substance abuse screening program.

California Marijuana Compliance

California Marijuana Laws

Overall Status: Fully Legal

In California, marijuana is legal for medicinal and recreational use for residents ages 21 and above.

Medical Marijuana: Legal

In 1996, California became the first state to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes. The Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) sets regulations for marijuana businesses. There are also requirements to prevent minors (under 21 years of age) from obtaining marijuana, to limit how much marijuana an individual may carry, and certain requirements for obtaining medical marijuana.

Decriminalized: Yes

California residents ages 21 and above may possess up to one ounce of marijuana, eight grams of concentrated cannabis, or grow up to six marijuana plants, per California state law. Anything beyond this is punishable by law.

Selling marijuana in California or possessing marijuana with the intent to sell is illegal in California.

The state also allows the opportunity for expungement for those with previous marijuana offenses. Eligible offenses for expungement must be those of which are now legal or have been decriminalized.

Recreational Marijuana: Legal

Recreational use became legal for adults ages 21 and above in California in 2016.

Last updated 1/12/2024

Frequently Asked Questions

Marijuana is legal in California for adults ages 21 and older for medical and recreational purposes. However, marijuana remains illegal under federal law. Residents are encouraged to understand federal and comply with rules, including marijuana workplace policies.

Although marijuana is legal in the state of California, it remains illegal under federal law. California residents could still be charged with marijuana-related crimes, even though they may be legal in the state. However, federal agencies tend to not charge California residents with these crimes unless they are crimes related to impaired driving, gang activity, or organized crime.

When it comes to marijuana use in California, one common issue is marijuana in the workplace, and employers can still fire an employee for marijuana use since marijuana is illegal under federal law. Employers must become familiar with both state and federal laws regarding marijuana.

What is California's history with marijuana?

California's Compassionate Use Act in 1996 legalized marijuana for medical purposes, making California the first state in the country to legalize medical marijuana. In 2016, California legalized recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older.

What is the punishment for possession in California?

The possession of more than one ounce of marijuana is considered a misdemeanor and, if found guilty, is punishable by up to six months in jail, up to a $500 fine, and probation.

Having under an ounce is legal in California for adults age 21 or older. But for adults ages 18-20, the possession of under one ounce of marijuana can result in a $100 fine, and possible mandatory drug counseling or community service.

Drug Panels That Exclude Marijuana

Urine Drug Panels That Exclude Marijuana Testing

Some of the popular drug panels that remove marijuana testing are listed below:

Also try taking a look at our comprehensive list of urine drug tests that exclude marijuana, where you'll find a complete list of drug tests that do not include THC testing under the "Exclude Marijuana" section.

Hair Drug Panels That Exclude Marijuana Testing

Two of our popular hair tests allow for the option to exclude marijuana from the panel of substances being tested. These include:

For a complete list of our hair drug tests, take a look at our comprehensive list of hair tests.

Drug Panels That Include Marijuana

Urine Drug Panels That Include Marijuana Testing

Many of our testing options include marijuana testing. Below are some of the most popular urine drug tests including marijuana:

Also try taking a look at our comprehensive list of urine drug tests that include marijuana.

Hair Drug Panels That Include Marijuana Testing

Our variety of hair drug tests include many options for marijuana testing. Some of the most commonly ordered hair drug tests are:

A comprehensive list of the hair drug tests that we offer can be found here.


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"Laws and Regulations." California Department of Cannabis Control,
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"Marijuana Possession." California Criminal Defense Lawyers,
"California Laws and Penalties." NORML,
"Federal Marijuana Laws." FindLaw, 29 November 2021,
Discrimination in employment: use of cannabis. Bill Text - AB-2188 Discrimination in employment: use of cannabis. (n.d.-b).