We knew it was only a matter of time before the Golden State turned in the Golden Goat state; in November of last year, that prediction came true. Per California NORML, voters approved Proposition 64 – the Adult Use Marijuana Act – by a margin of 57 percent to 43 percent, making recreational pot legal in La La Land and all the surrounding areas.
Colorado, and the other legalized states, welcome California to the game; now take back your traffic.
With the passage of this law in its initial stages, there is some confusion as to what people can and cannot do in regard to their love for the leaf. This article covers a few of the nuggets worth knowing.
The Law in Legal Terms
Proposition 64 gives citizens several rights. These include:
Possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and cultivation of six plants per residence by adults 21 years and older; reduction of penalties for illegal cultivation, sale, transport, and possession (not everything illegal is covered – this reduction is in the forms of felonies turned misdemeanors); allowance of prior offenders to have their criminal records changed as if
Proposition 64 was always in effect; establishment of licensing regulations for commercial production and sale; taxation of $9.25/ounce on production of flowers plus a 15 percent excise tax on retail sales; exemption of medical marijuana patients from certain taxation; and legalization of agricultural production of industrial hemp (this went into effect at the beginning of 2017).
While it allows the above, it continues to prohibit certain things. These include:
Smoking or consuming marijuana in a public place or while driving; possessing cannabis on school grounds; possessing an open container of marijuana while in a car (either as the driver or the passenger).
If you get good and gone on ganja and then get behind the wheel, you’ll risk fines and maybe freedom (if you continue to do it). The exact regulations for driving while on cannabis are set by the California Highway Patrol. It’s likely driving high will be treated similarly to driving drunk, with repercussions increasing for repeat offenders.
Like in many states, Proposition 64 does not apply to federal property. Because weed remains illegal on the federal level, anyone caught with marijuana in a national park (or anywhere else run by the G-Men) is subject to prosecution. In other words, you can’t YOLO in Yosemite.
When Can People Buy Weed in Cali?
Of course, lots of people aren’t interested in the intricacies of the legalities: they only want to know when pot shops will be open for business.
January 2018; let the countdown begin
Still, people can use it right now – they just can’t buy it yet, at least not legally. If someone you know hands you a joint, you’re within the law as long as no money exchanges hands. This sets the stage for a bit of kindergarten meets commerce: let’s all remember the importance of sharing.
Edibles will be available for purchase too; these will break off into sections of 10 milligram doses (of THC – the psychoactive ingredient). And the packaging will be intense: grab your scissors (or a jack hammer) – those suckers are really, really childproof.
Like other legal states have also mandated, no California business can sell marijuana and alcohol on the same premises. Proposition 64 does pave the way for on-site consumption, but this will be inside things like coffee shops rather than liquor stores.
Other Things to Know Before You Smoke or Grow
A few other things worth knowing before the law goes into effect include:
Marijuana and state lines: While people in San Diego will be able to take marijuana to Fresno or San Francisco, it can’t be taken across state lines. This is true even if you’re planning on taking it from one legal state to another (such as from California into Oregon or Nevada). In each legal state, cannabis must be consumed in the state of purchase.
Some medical dispensaries are selling recreational weed: Though they’re technically not allowed, ABC News reports that some medical dispensaries have already begun to sell weed to non-medical consumers. The authorities may let this slide for the time being, but, once regulations ferment, everyone will be expected to play by the rules. That’s because these rules amount to tax dollars and Uncle Sam wants you….and his cut.
Personal rights have already kicked in: The personal rights granted by Proposition 64 kicked in the day after citizens voted to legalize. Thus, marijuana is legal for anyone of age who wants to smoke it. The problem is with the purchase – as mentioned above, people can give it to you if they want as long as they do it for free. Those days of our youth when we stood outside liquor stores hoping someone with an over twenty-one driver’s license would buy us some Boone’s Farm? They’re now replaced by grownups standing outside of medical dispensaries hoping that someone with a medical marijuana card will buy us some Blue Dream.
Other California Laws of Note
The marijuana law is an important one and hopefully one that’s here to stay. But while we’re on the subject of California law, let’s close with some of these gems.
In California, it’s technically (and for some reason) illegal:
To shoot any kind of game from a moving vehicle, unless that game is a whale. To drive in a housecoat if you’re a woman. To throw a Frisbee at the beaches in LA County without the permission of a lifeguard. To annoy a lizard in the Fresno city parks. To keep an rhinoceros without a permit. To use the bathroom with the window open in Dana Point.
Who knows what’s behind these rules…except for the last one. That’s got “bran muffin” written all over it.