2016 has proven to be a pivotal year politically. Several drastic changes are on the horizon – both on the national and state level. Here in California and Stanislaus County, we are looking at several measures that will affect us daily. You might already notice it when its time to bag your groceries at the supermarket.
More is coming. And in a world, where “blue” states are turning red and our nation is now led by a someone who has never held public office prior – we have more questions than answers. One of those is recently-passed California Proposition 64, legalizing recreational marijuana use.
The law, which went in to effect on November 9th, made it legal for people to use and grow marijuana. The sale and taxation of recreational marijuana will not go in to effect until January, 2018.
How does this impact you today? Read below and find out more.
- Consumers must be 21 years or older. Just like consuming alcohol, the minimum age is 21. Consumers can also possess up to an ounce of marijuana buds, which equates to 8 grams. To the cannabis rookie, this might seem like a small amount, but this is probably closer to the same amount of a pack of cigarettes.
- California residents can grow up to 6 marijuana plants at home. The plants must be indoors or in enclosed structures. Some local governments can ban outdoor growth, so consumers must check with their city governments to see what they can legally grow and where it can be grown.
- Consumers can NOT use marijuana in public areas. They can be fined up to $100 for smoking marijuana in areas like parks or parking lots, or anywhere smoking is banned. If consumers DO smoke marijuana in non-smoking areas the fine increases to $250.
- Non-medical marijuana can be purchased and sold from stores like cigarette or vape shops. But there will be a licensing process for stores to legally sell weed. So, we probably won’t see it sold in stores for a while.
- Marijuana will be taxed with the normal state and local taxes, but there will also be an additional 15% excise tax. The average price per cigarette pack in California is about $9.77 per pack. This should give a good reference point on how much a pack of joints will cost.
- Driving while under the influence of marijuana is handled the same way as driving under the influence of alcohol. Measures will be taken to determine if you are “high” and unfit to drive. The same punitive DUI measures will apply to those found guilty of driving under the influence of marijuana, so consumers should think twice before driving to the store for munchies.
- If adults possess more than an ounce, or 8 grams, of marijuana they will be charged with a misdemeanor, a $500 fine, and up to 6 months in jail. Quite an intense punishment, but if consumers stay smart, this shouldn’t be a big deal.
- Lastly, it is also important to note that marijuana is still illegal federally. This basically means that the U.S. Government will be targeting trafficking operations across state lines and the sale of marijuana on the black market and to children or minors.
With recreational marijuana now legalized, there are many questions for users to navigate. With the new freedoms come new regulations. Responsible use is expected and this substance should be treated with respect and responsibility.
Since Federal law still prohibits the use of marijuana, and with this being a new law and many questions still left to be figured out from a legal standpoint, we recommend considering a strong legal team who can help you navigate the changing California marijuana laws, and how they can potentially impact you.
Contact the Sodhi Law Group for a free, no-obligation consultation.