California Cannabis Enforcement and Age Limitations

One of the more clear aspects about cannabis law in California is age limitations. People can only enter dispensaries if they are 21 or up (for adult-use recreational customers) or 18 or up (for medical customers). The state affirmatively obligates retail licensees to verify that customers are the appropriate age before even letting them into a dispensary.

Sales of cannabis to minors can lead to serious penalties for cannabis licensees. Our cannabis lawyers in other states have seen enforcement actions based on minor sales before, so we only expect them to increase in the future. In this post, we’ll look at how the agencies will eventually be able to enforce minor-sales prohibitions in California.

What will inevitably happen (if it isn’t already happening) in California is that law enforcement will use “minor decoys” to verify compliance with age verification rules. The concept of minor decoys is actually baked into the Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) regulations. Specifically, law enforcement may use persons under 21 to “attempt to purchase cannabis goods, for the purposes of enforcing [state law], and to apprehend licensees, employees, or agents of licensees who sell cannabis goods to minors.”

That said, law enforcement’s hands are tied to

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