Changes to California Drug Paraphernalia Laws

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) recently released a letter that summarizes changes to California law to increase access to harm reduction services and remove criminal penalties that prevent people from accessing services. 

Key points:

  • Anyone may possess an unlimited number of syringes for personal use in California. No one should be arrested, prosecuted, or denied services based on syringe possession for personal use.
  • Anyone may possess safer drug use materials, including pipes and other non-injection drug use materials, when acquired from a syringe services program (SSP). SSP participants are exempt from criminal prosecution for possession of such items, and the law does not require documentation of having acquired the materials from an SSP.
  • State and local government authorization of SSPs is exempt from review under the California Environmental Quality Act.

View the letter here.