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How Can I Legally Smoke Marijuana in California?

Residents and tourists must understand the laws to avoid arrest

By Doug Mentes, Esq. on May 28, 2019
Updated on June 11, 2020

As of January 2018, it’s legal to smoke marijuana in the state of California. This is good news for the many residents and potential tourists to the state. However, there are still many laws in place that restrict the use of cannabis in California. Residents and tourists must understand these laws or they put themselves at risk of not only a bad trip, but arrest.

Who can smoke?

Adults ages 21 years and over, whether a California resident or not, can smoke. An individual can purchase, daily, approximately 1 ounce (28.5 grams) of the smokable stuff—as well as small amounts of oils, edibles and similar products. Adults between 18 and 21 years of age can only smoke with a physician’s recommendation, or state of California medical marijuana ID card. To purchase marijuana there are approximately 1,700 marijuana dispensaries located throughout the state; you just have to show a government-approved form of ID, like a driver’s license.

Where can I smoke pot?

Perhaps the biggest concern for pot users is where they can get high. The blunt response is that, while pot is legal, nearly all property in California—public or otherwise—is off-limits to marijuana use. There are a few small pockets of legal use, and the largest of those legal locations for use are private residences.

There is no restriction for Californians or their guests to smoke in their private homes if they are the owner of the residence. However, for those that are renters of their homes, or short-term lodging guests, the property owner or landlord can ban marijuana use on their property. And many do. If you are in the unfortunate position to be living or staying in a property that bans use of marijuana, there are a few options left.

The law legalizing marijuana in California made use within smoking lounges legal. Most lounges are connected to dispensaries. California cities can outlaw smoking lounges within their limits, and many have, but most California smoking lounges are clustered around the largest cities and tourist areas.

More and more, lounges are being planned as cities determine whether to allow them. Further, a growing location for legal use is marijuana-accepted lodging. There are many resorts, Airbnb listings, and events that allow marijuana smoking on their premises. A quick Google search will point out a host of providers marketing themselves to pot smokers.

What else should users know?

Transporting marijuana will be an issue for most users, and the law is strict in this area. Users cannot smoke in their vehicles, or any type of transportation vehicle, for that matter. If someone is going to transport his or her pot or edible, it must be in the unbroken, sealed container it was purchased in—or in an acceptable childproof container. Otherwise, opened containers must be stored in a locked space outside the cab, such as a vehicle’s trunk.

If police suspect use while driving they will treat it, like driving under the influence of alcohol—a very serious offense. There is no developed testing method for determining whether a driver is impaired by marijuana. Police will look for certain signs of marijuana impairment from a driver—signs that, unfortunately, are sometimes present in unimpaired drivers. Anyone using or transporting marijuana should be cautious and consider public transportation or taxis to get themselves around while using. Users leaving a smoking lounge or legal smoking event and getting in their vehicles may be sitting ducks for law enforcement.

There is still the concern with federal law enforcement, as any possession of marijuana is still illegal under federal law. However, at least as of late 2018, there appears to be no efforts by federal law enforcement to step in.

Residents and tourists should ensure they are prepared for any questioning from law enforcement while possessing, transporting, or using marijuana. They should bookmark experienced southern California criminal defense attorneys, or their counterparts in northern California and San Diego, all of whom are ready to step in and protect someone facing trouble.

For more information on this area of law, see our overviews of criminal defense and drug and alcohol violations.

How Can I Legally Smoke Marijuana in California? – an article appearing in Super Lawyers Magazine February 2018

420 Friendly Denver – Where to Smoke Weed in Public in Denver

When you ask most people where to smoke in Denver, they’ll tell you to do it at your house. While there’s no doubt that smoking at home is a pleasant and relaxing experience, that isn’t the only place you can enjoy cannabis in Denver.

After all, this city is one of the world’s best locations for cannabis enthusiasts, and more and more establishments are finding ways to help people smoke cannabis in public in Denver.

Our Favorite 420-Friendly Spots in Denver

Colorado is still working on state laws to regulate when and where people can enjoy cannabis in public without worrying about any legal blowback. Hopefully, the state legislature will make more progress soon, but we still have options in the meantime.

Some businesses have found ways to allow people to enjoy cannabis in a more public, social setting without encountering legal trouble. While the City of Denver may occasionally raise an eyebrow, there are some general types of places you can go to smoke cannabis in public in Denver.

1 – Coffee Shops

One place that might be of interest to you in terms of coffee shops where you can smoke cannabis in Denver is The Coffee Joint. This place made history by becoming the first licensed, social consumption club and coffee house in Denver.

You can’t smoke there, technically, but you can use your own vape or dab rig with e-nails they provide, and you can also enjoy edibles here. Of course, you must bring your own cannabis, so stock up at your favorite Denver dispensary before you go. The Coffee Joint paved the way, others have followed.

2 – Lounges and Clubs

Private lounges are another great place to start if you’re interested in where to smoke weed in public in Denver. Private lounges can allow their members to smoke without worrying about the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act, which would otherwise restrict a person’s freedom to smoke indoors.

Many of these places will allow members to join either by paying a monthly fee or by paying admission just for the day. Bring your own cannabis.

3 – Private Event Spaces

Private event spaces, like lounges and clubs, have the freedom to make their own rules when it comes to smoking indoors. This allows them to host events that are smoke-friendly (that is, 420 friendly).

Even some event spaces that aren’t necessarily cannabis clubs will occasionally have events that allow people to smoke cannabis in private, outdoor areas. Since the consumption of cannabis is connected to specific events in these spaces, people must go for a specific event instead of just showing up at the front door and hoping to enjoy cannabis. Either way, be prepared to bring your own cannabis.

4 – Cannabis Tours

Just as alcohol consumption is permitted on party buses and in limos, there are mobile cannabis lounges that will drive you around to some great locations.

Hop aboard to take a trip to various restaurants, cannabis classes, and 420-friendly lounges. As with every other option on this list, you’ll have to bring your own cannabis.

Best Cannabis in Denver

There’s a common thread when it comes to smoking weed in public in Denver– you have to bring your own. To that end, come see us at The Lodge for everything you need.

We have locations in both Barnum and the RiNo district, so it’s easy to swing by before you go to your favorite social cannabis gathering. We look forward to your visit.

While the City of Denver may occasionally raise an eyebrow, there are some general types of places you can go to smoke cannabis in public in Denver. ]]>