California Cannabis Laws and FAQ

Recreational cannabis was essentially decriminalized in California in Nov. 2016 with the passing of Proposition 64.

While cannabis sales remain illegal in the city of Huntington Beach, such products may legally be purchased in Santa Ana, CA, a neighboring city within Orange County.

Here is the information you need to legally purchase, possess, and consume cannabis while visiting.

NOTE: The growth, sales, and consumption of cannabis remain federal offenses in the U.S. Under the federal Controlled Substances Act, cannabis remains classified as a Schedule I drug.

While this information is intended to inform visitors, it is not an official notice from the city of Huntington Beach, Orange County, or the state of California.


Who can legally consume, purchase, and possess cannabis?

In California, adults 21 and older may consume, purchase, and possess cannabis recreationally – ONLY on private property.  Notably, the passage of Prop. 64 did not create permissions or allowances for anyone to consume cannabis on public property.  It is also legal for adults 21 and older to share, gift, and receive cannabis within the state of California. It is illegal to give cannabis to minors.

Where can I purchase cannabis?

While it’s legal to purchase recreational cannabis through state-licensed recreational cannabis retailers, individual cities can determine whether or not to legalize sales within their jurisdiction.

All cannabis sales remain illegal in the city of Huntington Beach. However, cannabis can be legally purchased by adults 21 and older in Santa Ana, CA, a neighboring city in Orange County.

Where can I consume cannabis?

  • Cannabis must be consumed on private property.
  • Cannabis CANNOT at any time be consumed on public property — i.e. the beach, pier, street, restaurants, shops, etc.
  • Property owners may ban the use and possession of cannabis on their properties — i.e., hotels and rentals.
  • Cannabis CANNOT be consumed or possessed on federal lands in California.

How much cannabis can I possess?

Adults 21 and older can possess or buy up to 28.5 grams of cannabis plant material or 8 grams of concentrated cannabis at a time.

Can I consume cannabis in my hotel room?

No, consumption of cannabis or other cannabis products are not permitted on hotel property.

Can I travel (via car, bike, boat, airplane) with cannabis?

You may carry up to one ounce (28.5 grams) of cannabis and up to eight grams of concentrated cannabis.

It is illegal to drive or bike under the influence of cannabis. Individuals 21 and older can drive with cannabis in their possession, as longs as it is in closed containers. If the cannabis is in an open container, it must be kept in the trunk of the vehicle.

Even if you have a current qualifying physician’s recommendation or a valid county-issued medical marijuana identification card, it is illegal to smoke cannabis in an operating vehicle.

It is illegal to travel with cannabis across state lines or on waterways (via Duffy boats, cruise ships, yachts, etc.).

It is illegal to transport cannabis on airplanes — even on flights within California. The Transportation  Security Authority (TSA) abides by federal law and is required to report the possession of cannabis to airport law enforcement.

Can I get a DUI if I drive while I am high?

Yes. 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.

For more information, please visit the California Department of Health “Let’s Talk Cannabis” page here.