Yes, the reason that you cannot locate “pepper spray” in the penal code is because it is consider “tear gas” in California. California Penal Code regulates the use of tear gas in the state of California. The section is Penal Code 12403.7. See the code below. As of 2013, the section of code has moved to 22810.
12403.7. Notwithstanding any other law, any person may purchase,
possess, or use tear gas and tear gas weapons for the projection or
release of tear gas if the tear gas and tear gas weapons are used
solely for self-defense purposes, subject to the following