The Legality of Marijuana in California

2017 Marijuana Legality

2017 Marijuana Legality

There is no denying the sheer volume and uncapped potential of the marijuana industry. Prior to the election cycle, the buzz generated at the drop of the words “medicinal” and “recreational” was enough to give anyone a headache. Despite new legislation put into effect legalizing the usage of marijuana recreationally in California, the murkiness of what this means at a state versus federal level is as great as it ever has been. Questions regarding what’s legal to carry on your person or where you can open your own dispensary have arisen as the rat race to jump in on this cash cow begins.

20 years have passed since California became the first state to legalize the use of medicinal marijuana before the marginal approval of Proposition 64 this past November. So what is the difference now between getting high back on November 8th as opposed to November 9th after legislation passed? As it turns out, absolutely nothing for the time being. There are no shops or cafes sprinkled throughout the city streets like you see in Amsterdam where you can openly smoke a joint while sipping your coffee after lunch. As per federal law, there is no transportation of marijuana across state lines (even in states where cannabis is legal). Driving after ingestion of marijuana products will still result in a DUI or DWI, though the ability to test for impairment is still debatable. 

With many regulations and hoops to jump through, chances are that California natives won’t see anything drastic happen until January of 2018, which is the deadline for California to issue licenses and permits for all of the potential marijuana retail stores. As far as financing, licensing, licensing fees and applications, and distribution are concerned, no one really knows what to expect until some of the rulemaking is underway. But once you do make a trip to one of the legal retailers in the future, how much are you allowed to purchase and carry? Under Prop 64, possession of more than one ounce could land you a $500 fine and/or up to 6 months in jail with the end result being a misdemeanor on your record. Consumers who do not have a medical card issued by the state can expect to see some hefty taxes, while those that do will be exempt from state sales tax (at least in the interim).

The relevancy of marijuana in the black market is a question most are asking. In an effort to avoid taxes and other regulations, many are speculating that illegal transactions will still be running rampant. Under the new legislation, home growers are now allowed to grow and cultivate up to 6 plants and possess the marijuana produced by said plants. 

What marijuana users should not expect to see a change in anytime soon is the ability of employers to still monitor the usage of marijuana in employees. The same goes for tenants renting from property owners who are against the idea of marijuana usage in their buildings. For those who have received a marijuana felony or any other meritable charge, you may expect to see a downgrade in your conviction thanks to the new legislation, but a trip to the courthouse to file a petition might be in order.

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