Alternatives for Healing and Causes for Disease

California Penalties


28.5 g or less infraction none $100
More than 28.5 g misdemeanor 6 months $500
28.5 g or less on school grounds by a minor while school is in session misdemeanor 10 days $250
More than 28.5 g on school grounds while school open misdemeanor 6 months $500
Any amount (exception for patients or caregivers) felony 16 - 36 months none
Gift of less than 28.5 g misdemeanor none $100
Any amount felony
2 - 4 years
Any amount to a minor over 14 years old felony 3 - 5 years none
Any amount to a minor under 14 years old (includes offering, inducing, distributing, or employing) felony
3 - 7 years
Miscellaneous (paraphernalia, license suspensions, drug tax stamps, etc…)
Any conviction of minor under 21 causes driver’s license suspension for 1 year.

Possession of 28.5 grams or less of marijuana is now a civil infraction; no longer an arrestable offense. The offender is subject to a civil fine of $100. Possession of greater than 28.5 grams is punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $500.

Proposition 36
The Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act passed by 61% in 2000

Possession of 28.5 grams or less of marijuana on school grounds when the school is in session is punishable by up to 10 days in jail and a $250 fine. Possession of greater than 28.5 grams or more of marijuana in a school zone is punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $500.

The cultivation or processing of any amount of marijuana is punishable by up to sixteen months in state prison. There is an exception to the cultivation prohibition for patients or patients’ caregivers who possess or cultivate for personal use by the patient upon approval of a physician.

The laws regarding possession and cultivation of marijuana do not apply to patients or patients’ primary caregivers who possess or cultivate marijuana for the personal medical use of the patient, upon the recommendation or approval of a physician.

Selling marijuana in any amount is punishable by 2 - 4 years in the state prison. Giving away less than 28.5 grams is a misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine of up to $100.

Sale of marijuana to a minor is punishable by 3 - 5 years in prison.

For anyone under the age of 21 convicted of any of the above offenses, the state may suspend the offender’s driver’s license for up to one year.

Possession of paraphernalia is a civil fine of $200-$300 for the first offense and goes up to $5,000-$6,000 for a fifth or subsequent violation within a five-year period.

A breakdown of CA county and local medical marijuana guidelines is available here:


The state has decriminalized marijuana to some degree. Typically, decriminalization means no prison time or criminal record for first-time possession of a small amount for personal consumption. The conduct is treated like a minor traffic violation.


This state has an active hemp industry or has authorized research. Hemp is a distinct variety of the plant species cannabis sativa L. that contains minimal (less than 1%) amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Various parts of the plant can be utilized in the making of textiles, paper, paints, clothing, plastics, cosmetics, foodstuffs, insulation, animal feed, and other products. For more information see NORML’s Industrial Use section.

Medical Marijuana

This state has medical marijuana laws enacted. Modern research suggests that cannabis is a valuable aid in the treatment of a wide range of clinical applications. These include pain relief, nausea, spasticity, glaucoma, and movement disorders. Marijuana is also a powerful appetite stimulant and emerging research suggests that marijuana’s medicinal properties may protect the body against some types of malignant tumors, and are neuroprotective. For more information see NORML’s Medical Marijuana section.