Know your rights as a cannabis consumer

Rules about buying and using cannabis in San Francisco.

It is legal in California to buy and use cannabis if you are 21 or older. But, like tobacco and alcohol, there are laws that you need to follow.

Buying, selling and growing cannabis in San Francisco

You can only buy cannabis from licensed retailers

Adults can buy and carry:

  • Up to 1 ounce (28.5 grams) of cannabis
  • Up to 8 grams of concentrated cannabis

You can only sell cannabis if you have a Retail Cannabis Permit from San Francisco and a license from California.

You can grow up to 6 cannabis plants in your home or in a locked and enclosed yard. It must not be visible to the public, and the property owner must approve.

If you have a Medical Marijuana ID card, you can buy, carry, and grow more.

Securing your cannabis

You must lock up cannabis and cannabis products away from children and pets.

Cannabis for medical use

To buy medical cannabis, you need a Medical Marijuana ID card or a doctor's recommendation. You do not pay sales tax if you buy cannabis with a Medical Marijuana ID card.

You can also:

  • Grow up to 12 cannabis plants for your own use
  • Buy up to 8 ounces of flower

You can buy even more than 8 ounces if your doctor recommends it.

Apply for a Medical Marijuana ID card at San Francisco Department of Public Health.

Using cannabis in San Francisco

You cannot smoke, eat, vape, or use cannabis:

  • In public places, like parks and sidewalks
  • Near schools or anywhere with children (you can’t even carry cannabis at places like day care centers)
  • Inside most buildings, like workplaces, restaurants and bars, entertainment venues, and the common areas of multi-unit housing
  • At outdoor public events like music festivals, street fairs and parades

Generally, you cannot smoke or vape cannabis in places where you cannot smoke tobacco. 

You can use cannabis in private homes if the owner allows it. 

You can consume cannabis in a dispensary that has a consumption lounge.

Driving

Driving under the influence of cannabis is illegal and you can be arrested, fined, and have your license suspended.

You cannot drive or ride in a vehicle with an open container of cannabis. Cannabis must be sealed or kept in the trunk.

Cannabis at work

Employers can still:

  • Have a drug and alcohol-free workplace
  • Require drug tests for employees
  • Turn you down for a job because you use cannabis
  • Fire you, demote you, or take other action against you for using cannabis

Federal law

Cannabis is still considered an illegal drug by the federal government. You can be arrested or prosecuted for buying or using cannabis on federal land.

Many places in California are policed by federal authorities. They include, but are not limited to:

  • Airports
  • National parks
  • Federal buildings
  • Military installations

Immigration status

If you are not a US citizen, using cannabis or working in the cannabis industry can hurt your immigration status. You should get legal advice before leaving the United States or applying for naturalization.

Speak with a trusted immigration legal services provider.

Learn more about the immigration risks of marijuana.

Penalties

The state has information on the penalties for:

More information

California’s Let’s Talk Cannabis page can help you learn more about how to use cannabis safely.

California Department of Public Health has information on what’s legal to grow, buy and give away cannabis.

National Academies of Science and the National Institute on Drug Abuse have more information on health and cannabis use.

Last updated August 01, 2019

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