Before we launch into the details related to cannabis delivery laws in California, there are two things about the U.S. cannabis industry that are worth mentioning. The first is that popularity for plant’s legalization continues to rise. In a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in September 2019, two-thirds of Americans showed their support for cannabis legalization.
The second is that cannabis regulations are shifting constantly, making it hard for brands and consumers to keep up with what’s legal and what’s not. So, in addition to reviewing California laws on cannabis delivery services, we will also take a look at some of the other cannabis regulations that are worth familiarizing yourself with.
Cannabis Regulations: Federal vs State
While most U.S. states have legalized cannabis in some form or another, the federal government still classifies marijuana as a schedule 1 drug. This means that under no circumstances does the federal government accept the notion that cannabis can be used for medical purposes.
The problem is that until cannabis is given the opportunity to undergo a large-scale clinical trial to prove its medical effectiveness, its federal status is unlikely to change. At the same time, while the federal government continues to classify the plant as a schedule 1 drug, there’s no way that a clinical trial on the scale necessary will be given the funding and go-ahead to run.
There’s hope that more growers will be approved for scientific purposes to help rectify the situation, but the current reality is a tricky one.
Cannabis Regulations: State vs County
While federal law will always trump state law, from a consumer standpoint it’s important to understand individual state laws. At the time of writing, 33 states have legalized cannabis for the medical market, 11 states have a regulated recreational market, with Illinois coming on board recently in January 2020, and two have decriminalized possession of the substance.
California has legalized both medical and recreational cannabis use. What’s more, there are a number of businesses that offer the delivery of cannabis products to your door. The problem in California, however, is that cannabis regulations pertaining to counties within the state of California are sometimes contradictory and this can make things difficult for businesses and consumers alike.
How do County Regulations affect California Cannabis Delivery Laws?
The differences between state and county regulations in California are constantly shifting, fairly detailed, and not talked about all that often, which is why most people don’t even realize that these differences exist.
As an example, a little over a month ago, in January 2020, the Bureau of Cannabis Control issued new regulations, effectively allowing all the firms that it licenses to deliver cannabis to homes anywhere in the state of California.
The regulations issued effectively trumped, or at least aimed to, those already stipulated by individual cities and counties that had previously taken the decision to ban even the presence of cannabis shops, let alone cannabis home delivery.
Naturally, what has ensued is a complicated lawsuit between the California Bureau of Cannabis Control, the Salinas-based East of Eden Cannabis Co., and Santa Cruz County. The lawsuit continues and leaves consumers, brands, dispensaries, and delivery companies across the state in a very gray area.
How does Cannabis Delivery Work in California?
With all the aforementioned in mind, it’s time for some specific details concerning California state cannabis laws on delivery. The first thing to note is that the amount you’re allowed to order, as a single day purchase, varies depending on the product.
For non-concentrated cannabis, you’re allowed to order up to 28.5 grams. When ordering concentrates, you can only order up to 8 grams per day and if you’re making an order of immature cannabis plants, the limit is six.
The process is as simple as ordering anything else for home delivery. Some dispensaries, like HerbNJoy, offer a home delivery service, joining the many cannabis delivery services in the state of California, of which there are now more than 100 in operation.
You’ll need to provide proof of ID upon receiving the products and, depending on how much you spend, you may also have to pay a delivery fee. You must receive the products in person, you’re not allowed to receive your order while sitting in a vehicle and, with some companies, it’s possible to pay with a card upon delivery. Others ask for cash only.
Cannabis Delivery and California Possession Limits
One other thing to remember is that in the state of California, consumers are only allowed to possess up to 1 ounce at a time. That’s for the recreational market, at least.
When it comes to California medical cannabis delivery laws, things are a little different. The limit placed on dried flower home delivery for medical purposes is 8 ounces. Medical patients ordering immature cannabis plants are able to order up to 12 plants for home delivery.
If buying online and receiving via home delivery isn’t right for you, then don’t forget that there’s always the option to head to a licensed dispensary and buy your products in person.
Buying from a California Dispensary: Medical and Recreational Differences
Some dispensaries are recreational, others offer medical cannabis only, and others have licenses to sell cannabis to both markets. One of the advantages of visiting a recreational storefront dispensary, or cannabis store, as opposed to a medical-only dispensary, is that you don’t need a medical prescription and card to make a purchase.
While medical dispensaries tend to keep copies of patient prescriptions to track orders for future reference and repeat orders, a recreational cannabis store usually offers more product and brand variety. The shopping experience feels more like regular retail, with all the fun, interest, and excitement that goes along with it.
Interactions with budtenders can also make the experience inside a recreational dispensary that much more fulfilling. Trained budtenders are able to offer advice that helps consumers buy the right kind of strain to match their interests, needs, and experiential preferences.
Budtenders can also help decide between all the consumption methods available, leading the consumer through the benefits and considerations of edibles, flower, concentrates, and topicals, one brand at a time.
All dispensaries, whether medical or recreational, normally have online menus that you can browse through. This tends to be the case, even when home delivery isn’t an option. Whether medical or recreational, you will always need to arrive with your ID and it’s a good idea to have cash in your pocket too. Banking remains problematic for most in the cannabis industry, which means you can’t really rely on plastic.