OPL Responds: The Legalization of Recreational Cannabis Use

Prop 64 is in Effect, Smoke ‘Em if You Got ‘Em

Recreational cannabis use is now legal in the state of California!

But what does that really mean?

Oakland librarians are happy to answer your reference questions, or you can go directly to some of these sources:

Curious about the specifics of legality? Need health information?

Let’s Talk Cannabis

The California Department of Public Health shares science-based information about cannabis and how it affects our bodies, minds and health. It also provides quick bulleted info about the new law:

  • Under California law, adults 21 or older can use, carry, and grow cannabis (marijuana, weed, pot).
  • Buying cannabis (without a current physician’s recommendation or a county-issued medical marijuana identification card) will become legal for adults 21 or older January 1, 2018.
  • Use of medicinal cannabis is legal if you have a current physician’s recommendation or a valid county-issued medical marijuana identification card.
  • To buy medicinal cannabis, you must be 18 or older and have either have current physician’s recommendation, a valid county-issued medical marijuana identification card, or be a Primary Caregiver as defined in Health and Safety Code Section 11362.7(d).
  • You can consume cannabis 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.
  • Even though it is legal under California law, you cannot consume or possess cannabis on federal lands like national parks, even if the park is in California.
  • It is illegal to take your cannabis across state lines, even if you are traveling to another state where cannabis is legal.

Want to get a weed crime off your record?

Proposition 64: The Adult Use of Marijuana Act

 The California Courts’ website includes downloadable forms. If you need personal legal information or referral, try one of our Lawyers in the Library programs. You can also get help cleaning up your record at Clean Slate clinics run by the Alameda County DA and East Bay Community Law Center.

Want to get into the industry? Or be a better informed consumer?

California Cannabis Portal 

Information for consumers and producers from the State of California. The website is “a one-stop shop for all things related to the state’s effort to regulate the cannabis industry...daily updates feature important information related to the state’s commercial cannabis regulations, the licensing application process, and announcements.”

Need to know where to get it?

Interactive map: Where to buy legal cannabis in California starting Jan. 1 

KTVU, along with the East Bay Express, The Cannifornian and Green State, have created a map of legal dispensaries. If you’re only interested in local places, go straight to the list compiled by the East Bay Express

Want to look at pictures of happy citizens?

New era opens in California with first sales of recreational cannabis

The San Francisco Chronicle reports on public reaction to cannabis sales at Harborside Health Clinic in Oakland, as well as around the Bay.

Worried about it being federally illegal?

Jeff Sessions Is Preparing a Brutal Crackdown on the Cannabis Industry

This recent article offers in-depth discussion of how the Trump administration and congress may handle marijuana use and prosecution. You could also keep tabs on the situation by reading about it in the New York Times (use oaklandlibrary.org/NYT72 for unlimited access for 72 hours).

Edited 1/10/2017: Thanks to a thoughtful patron, who pointed out the stigmatizing and racist connotations of the term "marijuana." We've changed it to cannabis, except in those instances where we are quoting a website or article title. We appreciate the opportunity to learn and grow.


Hi, Maybe also something


Maybe also something about driving under the influence since cannabis-induced traffic fatalities are up?


Hi Andrew! Thanks for the

Hi Andrew!

Thanks for the comment.

Let's Talk Cannabis, the first site listed, does have information about driving and cannabis.

As for traffic fatalities increasing, I see the Mercury News reporting increased fatalities in Washington and increased crashes in Colorado, but I see that the Washington Post talks about conflicting studies: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/06/26/what-marijuana-le... It seems fairly early to have any studies about the effect in California. Have you seen anything?


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