San Diego's first legal 4/20: The rules smokers need to know

Posted at 4:38 PM, Apr 19, 2018
and last updated 2019-04-19 19:57:15-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - For the first April 20 in California, marijuana use is legal in the state.

California’s new recreational marijuana laws took effect Jan. 1, 2018, as the passage of Proposition 64 in November 2016 opened up the state to regulate cannabis. For local users, however, it's not a matter of simply heading outside and smoking freely.

Several state laws are in place to make sure smokers celebrate "4/20' legally - and safely - will be in effect Friday. Here's what they need to know:



  • Adults 21 and older can use, carry, purchase, and grow cannabis. That includes up to one ounce (28.5 grams) of cannabis and up to 8 grams of concentrated cannabis.
  • You can only buy cannabis at retail outlets licensed by the California Bureau of Cannabis Control.
  • Although you can legally possess cannabis, it is illegal for you to sell it without a license.
  • Individuals that are 18 or older and have either have current physician’s recommendation or a valid county-issued medical marijuana identification card can purchase marijuana.


  • You can plant, cultivate, harvest, dry, and process up to six cannabis plants in your private residence or on the grounds of your residence.
  • Plants must be in a locked space that is not visible to the public. 
  • Cities and counties may prohibit the outdoor cultivation of cannabis.
  • Property owners and landlords may ban the use, growth, and possession of cannabis on their properties.

RELATED: Timeline: How marijuana laws have changed in California


  • You cannot use cannabis within 1,000 feet of a school, day care center, or youth center while children are present.
  • Even though it is legal under California law, employers have the right to prohibit the use of cannabis by their employees.
  • Cannabis can be consumed on private property but you cannot consume, smoke, eat, or vape cannabis in public places. Property owners and landlords may ban the use and possession of cannabis on their properties.


  • If you are under the influence of cannabis while operating a car, boat, or other vehicle, a law enforcement officer can pull you over and conduct a sobriety test. Violators are subject to DUI laws.
  • Having an open container of cannabis in a vehicle while driving or riding in the passenger seat is against the law.
  • If you have cannabis in a vehicle, it must be in an approved sealed package or container. Otherwise, it must be kept in the trunk.

RELATED: San Diego man uses tech experience to better track pot plants


  • Cannabis may not be consumed or possessed on federal lands like national parks, even if the park is in California.
  • It is illegal to take cannabis across state lines, even if you’re traveling to another state where cannabis is legal.
  • Cities and counties may have stricter laws about cannabis that are in addition to the state law.

The following information is from the California Department of Public Health.

Cannabis remains a Schedule I drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act, meaning its purchase, possession, distribution, or use within California may be unlawful under federal law.