Now that California has legalized marijuana you may be thinking, “Awesome! Now I don’t have to worry about the police busting me!” as you smoke weed in public walking down the street. Too bad, that kinda like alcohol, there are only a few certain places that you are legally allowed to smoke your marijuana if you’re in public.
So where can you smoke? And what if you were unfortunate enough to get caught smoking weed in public, what penalties do you face? Don’t worry, we’ll cover all that with some fun places you may be able to smoke weed, the fines you could face, and some ways to lessen your risk of getting caught.
After all, isn’t this why vaporizers were invented?
What Can Happen if I get Caught Smoking Marijuana in Public?
In case you didn’t get the memo, there is a clearly stated law against smoking in public.
This means that you are allowed to possess 1 ounce or less of marijuana in public as long as you’re over 21 (or have a medical card if you’re under 21). However, if you’re anywhere where it can be seen, heard, or smelled while you smoke it, you can be fined.
If you live on government property (like a military base) or within 1000 feet of a school, you should be extra careful if you’re wanting to smoke that dank weed because the fines and penalties increase if you’re caught.
What are the Penalties if I’m Caught Smoking Weed in Public?
According to HSC 11362.4(a), the penalty for smoking in public in California for those over 18 is a fine up to $100. The fine can be increased to $250 in spaces where smoking tobacco is also illegal. For those under 18, get ready to revisit your D.A.R.E. days for 4 hours and spend 10 hours doing community service and don’t forget to double that community service for tobacco-free zones.
Pro Tip: don’t whip out your medical card thinking that’ll help because the state may just take it away.
In case you have the SUPER bad karma (or didn’t learn the first time) and get caught a second time, the fine can be up to $500 for those over 18; and double the community service hours will increase in lieu of fines if you’re still a minor. For those who get caught a third time, the fine can be up to $999!
Honestly these punishments aren’t that bad as long as you’re not near a bunch of children because, like pedophiles, you can’t be within 1000 feet of a school, daycare center, youth center, playgrounds, or any other public spaces where many children congregate.
What Happens if I Smoke Cannabis Near a School?
Warning, it’s bad.
Let’s just say if you are near a public children space and you get caught with the mere possession of cannabis you will be charged with a misdemeanor, be sent to jail for up to 10 days, and did we mention a fine of up to $500?
As for actually smoking in a public space where children are present (like a playground or park) there will be an additional fine up to $250.
But this only applies when there are children around, so no children, no problem!
Where Can I Legally Smoke Marijuana?
If you’re smoking marijuana but nobody can see, hear, or smell you toking, did it really happen?
Obviously you can smoke in the privacy of your own home or any private residence that condones cannabis use. Most of us have been sitting on the couch and getting high for years now and marijuana is finally legal! We should have someplace new to go to get high!
We’ve listed out some popular places to smoke marijuana without the risk of getting fined or having judgmental soccer moms harangue you about weed.
Can I Smoke Marijuana if I’m Renting my Home?
Landlords have the same right to ban marijuana as they do tobacco, so technically this is really up to your landlord. Not every landlord will be okay with you toking up on their property so you might want to be sure in case it’s not a part of your lease.
And if your landlord isn’t okay with you blazing up? Well, unless they live above you or with you we doubt they’ll ever find out, but you do run the risk of violating your lease. And if your neighbors aren’t exactly cannabis friendly either, you might want to stuff a towel at the base of your door, get some scented candles or Febreeze, and try to be as discreet as possible.
Another word of advice – don’t go blowing bong rips before they come over to fix the sink either.
Can I Still Smoke Marijuana in Dispensaries?
Even though there have been some changes to what dispensaries can and cannot do with the new laws, it’s nice to know that some dispensaries can still be a safe haven to smoke herb. Although dispensaries could never offer free weed to advertise their business, they were able to donate some medical herb to those who couldn’t afford it.
In most cases, you won’t be able to smoke before you buy and you definitely won’t get your free pre-roll if it’s your first time there. However, not all is lost, luckily dispensaries are able to set up designated smoking areas so you can enjoy your marijuana as soon as possible!
Just remember, you can get a DUI if you decide to toke up at the dispensary and then get behind the wheel.
Am I Able to Smoke in Weed Lounges?
People have bars to go get drunk, which is a much more dangerous drug than weed. We can imagine there would be less bar fights happening if that sweet Mary Jane was there to mellow everyone out. Right?
This is where cannabis lounges, coffee shops, cannabis clubs come in!
Even BYOC (bring your own) weed lounges are popping up! There aren’t that many weed lounges in California, yet, but we suspect that will be one of the rising Canna-businesses in the years to come (hint: if you’re interested, TWI can help you create it). Especially since BYOC lounges will (probably) avoid some of the marijuana asset forfeiture risks distributors have.
But if you’re looking to get cross-faded (which means to smoke weed and drink alcohol) you may be disappointed. Marijuana and alcohol cannot be sold in the same place and definitely don’t drive after consuming either and or both. And if you’re thinking they have it easier across the pond in Amsterdam, guess again. They won’t even let you into a pot lounge over there if they even think you’re already intoxicated!
What About Smoking in a Cannabis Hotel?
How fun does a trip to a weed hotel sound?
We can just imagine a bunch of stoners soaking up the California sun by the pool and passing the dutchie (on the left hand side). There are multiple resorts that are now allowing you to smoke recreational marijuana in public on their property. Mike Tyson is actually planning on building a 40 acre weed resort!
And if you’re a fan of using AirBnB but would like to still smoke in your unit, keep an eye out for businesses that will rent to you marijuana enthusiasts so you can toke all the cannabis you could ever want without getting in trouble with the owners.
You also get to avoid any possible fines for smoking in the unit as well!
What About Smoking at Weed Events?
Now that it’s legal, there are parties and events thrown that are centered around cannabis! It makes sense that cannabis events would become popular since we have had beer festivals, wine tours, and other drinking events successfully going on since the dark ages.
Marijuana events on our bucket list:
- White Rabbit High Tea; Los Angeles
- West Coast Cannabis Tours; San Diego – Orange County – Los Angeles
- The Cannabis Cup; Los Angeles – San Francisco
- Humboldt Green Week; Humboldt (obviously)
- 420 Games; Tours all across the country
- Cannabis World Congress and Business Expo; Los Angeles
How to Smoke Marijuana Discreetly in the Great Outdoors
You little rebel, you still wanna get high outside!
If that’s what floats your boat, here are some tips on reducing the likelihood of getting caught smoking marijuana in public.
Remember: TWI does NOT condone smoking marijuana in public!
Use a Vaporizer
These devices are ideal for getting high in public because they’re portable and practically odorless. Vaporizers have been on the rise since 2010 despite the public opinion on people who vape. But if getting high is your ultimate priority, this may be your best bet.
As long as you’re okay with the fact that people will think you vape.
Get High Near a Bonfire
Bonfires cover up a lot of odors and it will definitely cover up the weed smell. Be careful when getting high near open flames, though. That fire breathing trick might be less likely to cause 3rd degree burns if you’re not super stoned.
Try Smoking Near the Ocean or Bay
Surfer or beach culture pretty much goes hand in hand with stoner culture so smoking at the beach might help. The ocean breeze will help sweep those stoner odors away to lessen your detection. If you surf, you can even try sneaking a hit or two from a vaporizer while out on your board waiting for a wave. Just put it in a ziplock bag before you stuff it in your wetsuit or board shorts.
Of course, you also run the risk of getting fined by the lifeguards. And they usually aren’t as attractive as the ones on Baywatch (and they won’t run in slow motion either).
You Could Get Stoned On a Boat
Nothing beats riding the waves with a good high. Just make sure you’re not driving the boat because you can still get a marijuana DUI. California may have given you the right to smoke your marijuana but they just don’t want you operating ANY vehicle or heavy machinery when you do!
And if you think you’re safe out on the high seas, you do run the (slight) risk of getting caught by the US Coast Guard. Remember, they are a federal entity so the fines you face could be worse if they catch you. But at least since you’re on the water, you’ll be able to see them coming from a (nautical) mile away.
And if you’re in international waters, watch out for pirates!
The Lowdown on Getting High in Public
We hope that more local ordinances and CA recreational Cannabis laws open up to the idea of having permitted locations to smoke weed, since smoking weed on the couch is so 2016. We’ve even seen firsthand that people don’t seem to be too concerned about the laws on public smoking as they stand outside their favorite bars and light up.
But just like the Bureau of Cannabis Control sent out notices to non-compliant cannabis businesses, law enforcement will eventually be enforcing this rule as well in order to capitalize on the fines imposed. After all, they wouldn’t let us legalize it if they couldn’t make money off of it any way they can. So just because the police aren’t busting you now doesn’t mean they won’t tomorrow. And as much as we love to say, “I told you so” we’d rather see our readers happily enjoying their marijuana legally instead of shelling out their hard earned cash on fines for public smoking.
If you have been fined for public smoking, leave us a comment about your experience!
Until next time,
Toke and Grow safely!