Open Container Laws Are No Longer Just for Alcohol: What’s an Open Container for Cannabis?

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December 15, 2020

When someone hears about an “open container,” they usually think about the rules related to alcohol consumption in public. With the legalization of cannabis comes new regulations, including an “open container” policy. After leaving a legal cannabis dispensary, you may be tempted to break the seal and inspect your legally obtained cannabis. However, once that container is open, you must abide by a new set of rules.

An open container, much like with alcohol, is any container that can hold cannabis, and which is left open. Any containers which have been opened must be stored in the trunk during any transport. Under California Vehicle Code section 23222(b), it is illegal to drive with cannabis in the car if it is not in a sealed container. This means no cannabis or cannabis-related products in your pocket.

In addition, like alcohol, drivers and passengers may not consume cannabis while the vehicle is being operated.

Penalties for driving with an open container of cannabis include:

– A maximum fine of $100 (the driver and the passenger may each receive a fine);
– If anyone in the vehicle is below 21, both they and the driver may be charged with a misdemeanor (which includes a fine of $1,000 and six months in county jail);
– Probation for three to five years; and/or
– Suspension of a driver’s license for up to six months.

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This article is based on the law as of the date posted at the top of the article. This article does not constitute the provision of legal advice, and does not by itself create an attorney-client relationship with Eskridge Law.