Equity Project State Briefing
Is Cannabis Legal in California?
- Adult-Use: Yes
- Medical: Yes
Date of Legalization
- Adult-Use: 2016
- Medical: 1996
California legalized cannabis for medical use in 1996 through the passage of Proposition 215, the state's Compassionate Use Act. California went on to legalize cannabis for adults in 2016 through proposition 64.
View the full text here: California's Adult Use and Medical Regulations
"California Proposition 215, the Medical Marijuana Initiative (1996)". Ballotpedia. Retrieved January 11, 2022
"California Proposition 64, Marijuana Legalization(2016)". Ballotpedia. Retrieved January 11, 2022
HSC § 11362.5. Compassionate Use Act of 1996
Within California’s adult use framework, adults 21+ may possess up to 28.5 grams of cannabis not in concentrate form and up to 8 grams of concentrate and may grow up to six residential plants. Within the medical framework patients may possess up to eight ounces of flower, up to six mature plants and 12 immature plants.
Other Licensing Provisions
License Caps: Yes
Arizona is a limited license state and only allows for a total of 169 adult use cannabis establishment licenses, including 26 social equity licenses. Additionally, Arizona allows for municipalities to opt out of participating in the adult use market. The following limitations exist regarding the distribution of adult use licenses.
The Arizona Department of Health Services may not issue more than one license for every ten registered (traditional) pharmacies in the state of Arizona. The department may only issue a marijuana establishment license to two marijuana establishments per county that contain no registered nonprofit medical marijuana dispensaries, or one marijuana establishment license per county that contains one registered nonprofit medical marijuana dispensary.
Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 36-2854 subsection A (1)(a)-(b)
Selection System: Hybrid
Arizona distributes its adult use cannabis licenses through a hybrid compliance and lottery system. The department shall issue a marijuana establishment license to each qualified early applicant who applies for a license between January 19 and March 9, 2021. After early applications, the remaining licenses will be granted randomly through a lottery system.
All applications received will be reviewed for administrative and substantive completeness. Applications deemed substantially complete will be entered into a random selection, which will be used to issue the 26 available social equity licenses. The random selection will likely take place in Spring 2022.
Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 36-2854 subsection A (1)(c)
Felony Disqualification: Yes. (Cannabis exemptions included)
Arizona’s adult use framework disqualifies applicants for cannabis licensure on the basis of certain convictions. In Arizona, licensure applicants must submit an affidavit that none of the principal officers or board members of the company have an “excluded felony offense.”
“Excluded felony offense” has the same meaning within the state’s medical cannabis context. "Excluded felony" means a violent felony as defined by Arizona law or a controlled substance conviction. There is a carve out for Individuals with controlled substance felony convictions who completed their sentence at least 10 years ago, as well as a carve out for individuals with certain qualified cannabis convictions for activity that would now be immune from prosecution.
Ariz. Admin. Code § R9-18-201 Initial Application for a Marijuana Facility Agent License Subsection 5
Ariz. Admin. Code § R9-18-205 Denial, Suspension, or Revocation of a Marijuana Facility Agent License)
Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 41-1758.07 Level I fingerprint clearance cards; definitions. Subsection c
Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 36-2801 Definitions Subsection 7 Excluded Felony
Employee Conviction Restrictions
Conviction Restrictions for Employees: Yes. (Cannabis exemptions included)
The Arizona adult use sector has restrictions disqualifying potential employees with certain convictions. Marijuana facility agents (employees) must have a current level I fingerprint clearance card. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. §36-2855.) 116 excluded offenses prohibited from level 1 clearance are listed in Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 41-1758.07.
Cannabis-related felonies are listed under a class of felonies which can ask the board for a good cause exception to obtain level 1 clearance.
Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 36-2855 Marijuana facility agents; registration; card; rules subsection (b)(2)
Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 41-1758.07. Level I fingerprint clearance cards; definition; Ariz. Rev. Stat. §36-2855. Excluded offenses listed Subsection c
Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 41-619.55 Good cause exceptions.
Arizona offers record cleaning remedies for certain cannabis convictions, however, this process is not automatic and requires action from the individual. As of July 12, 2021, an individual may petition the court to expunge a conviction that occurred before July 12, 2021.
Cannabis-related activity that can be expunged includes: Transporting, consuming, or possessing 2.5 ounces or less of marijuana. Cultivating, transporting, or processing no more than six home marijuana plants. Transporting, using, or possessing marijuana related paraphernalia