What Is The Legal Age to Buy Weed?

By Debbie Hall

The cannabis landscape in the state of California transformed in 2018 with the passage of Proposition 64. As of Jan. 1, 2018, any adult 21 years or older can buy recreational-use cannabis in a state-licensed dispensary. Adults age 18 and older with a prescription can use medicinal cannabis.  

Understanding the law

With this new legal freedom comes the responsibility to know and understand the law to make right decisions that will last a lifetime. Laws enacted about using mind-altering substances such as cigarettes, alcohol and now cannabis make it an adult privilege. There are consequences to using these substances. It is understood through documented researched that brains fully develop when a person has reached their early to mid-20s. There are age restrictions to protect teenagers and allow them to grow into healthy, fully functioning adults.

Consuming cannabis

Another critical law to obey is that cannabis must be consumed on private property. Consumption includes smoking, eating [ingesting] or vaping. Indulging in weed in public places is illegal. Even if people are hanging out a bar legally drinking, it is still against the law to use weed there and those caught can be arrested. Other public areas include school campuses, parks, sporting events, restaurants and in cars in parking lots.

According to a recent Sacramento Bee article, college students attending The University of California and any schools part of the California State University systems will not be permitted to consume marijuana on campus, dorms or school property.

Since the possession or consumption of cannabis is still illegal under federal law, this includes national parks, even those located in California.

While people might understand that consumption is only allowed in the privacy of a residence, the law does not stop there. It is not an absolute right. According to the Department of Health, the property owner also has the right to decide if cannabis will be allowed on their property. If a person is renting, even if it is legal, the owner and his agent [landlord] can ban cannabis on their property. A clause banning cannabis can be included in a signed lease and steps can be taken if the tenant breaks the lease by possessing or using cannabis.   

Cannabis outside of California

What about traveling with weed, even to other states where it is also legal? Since the federal government regulates airline travel, it is against the law to transport weed on any flight, including both recreational and medicinal. The Transportation Security Administration handles enforcement and while its officers do not actively look for drugs, it does not mean that a passenger won't be arrested if anything is found during a routine search. Drugs include marijuana, which is classified by the federal government as a Schedule I illegal drug. Another aspect to consider is that this administration is fighting the legalization of cannabis. The federal government and its agencies are coming down harder regarding the law where it federally regulates travel including flights.  

Know your rights and responsibilities around the possession and consumption of weed. Since there are consequences, follow the law and make the right decisions.