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Legal Weed in California: What You Should Know

For the first time since 1913, the use of both recreational and medical marijuana is legal in the state of California. Though this Pacific Coast state was the first in the country to legalize medical cannabis under the California Proposition 215 in 1996, thousands of advocates, activists, and organizations who have been pushing for further legalization measures for decades. After California voters approved Proposition 64 in early November 2016, state officials began the arduous task of detailing the parameters of the law.
While the winning 56% to 44% vote immediately allowed adults over the age of 21 in California to use, possess, share, and grow marijuana, it’s taken state legislators almost two years to implement the regulations and rules needed for business owners to open recreational marijuana stores. However, on January 1, 2018, the nation’s most populous state began issuing licenses to store owners, enabling them to legally sell and distribute up to one ounce of marijuana flower per customer.
Despite new laws, there remains a substantial amount of red tape and regulations for both those who use cannabis and those who sell the products. By understanding the technicalities of the law, you can safely and legally partake in California marijuana.

Where to buy recreational marijuana

Just because recreational cannabis is now legal in the state of California doesn’t mean it’s being sold on every street corner. Along with having the authority to ban recreational pot businesses, local municipalities also have the right to place their own regulations on how, where, and when marijuana can be sold. In order to comply with the newly instated laws, establishments selling cannabis products must obtain both city and county permits as well as a stamp of approval from the California Bureau of Cannabis Control.
In order to legally buy marijuana at a permitted business, you must be over the age of 21 and have a valid form of identification. Additionally, under the new law, California residents are able to grow, harvest, smoke, and share up to six marijuana plants per household. this image was taken of some marijuana used for medicinal purposes

Where can recreational weed be smoked?

Generally speaking, in areas where cigarettes can’t be smoked, neither can marijuana. However, many counties throughout the state don’t allow the smoking of marijuana in any public area, including parks, streets, and even in your car. For information on your county’s specific cannabis laws, be sure to contact or visit your local government.

Legal marijuana-related activities

Under the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) outlined in California’s Proposition 64, adults over the age of 21 are legally permitted to process, process, transport, purchase, or obtain no more than one ounce of cannabis or eight grams of concentrated cannabis, like oils, hash, or resin. Similarly, one ounce of marijuana flower or eight grams of concentrate can legally be given – NOT sold – to others, as long as they, too are over the age of 21.
Again, California residents are allowed to cultivate, possess, plant, harvest, dry, and process no more six live plants. Any produce harvested from plants is also legal to have has long as any cannabis over the amount of one ounce is kept in a locked, private area that’s out of public sight. Local governments have the authority to prohibit or restrict the outdoor cultivation of marijuana but aren’t permitted to forbid the growing of six marijuana plants inside a private residence.

Prohibited marijuana-related activities

In order to adhere to all rules and regulations, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what is not permitted under California’s new cannabis laws. While local governments have the ability to permit on-site marijuana consumption at certain state-licensed premises within their jurisdiction (think: beer gardens), smoking, vaporizing, and ingesting weed or related products in public places, especially those within 1,000-feet of a school, daycare, or youth center, is illegal. Similar to alcohol, marijuana also cannot be used while driving or riding in a car, boat, or airplane. It is also illegal to manufacture concentrated marijuana products with vaporous solvents and explosive chemicals like butane.

Restrictions you should know

There are several key restrictions in the AUMA that need to be made clear. First, because marijuana remains an illegal substance on the federal level, employers maintain the right to enforce a drug-free workplace and are legally able to forbid the use of all marijuana products by employees. Second, landlords and other private home and building owners obtain the right to prohibit or restrict the use of cannabis on privately owned properties. Lastly, any building that’s owned or occupied by government agencies can also maintain its right to be drug and cannabis-free.   Young beautiful woman smoking a cigarette sitting with flowers in Amsterdam city

Know your rights

With so much red-tape and ever-evolving regulations, knowing what is and is not legal when it comes to weed can often be confusing. If you’re facing legal charges in relation to marijuana, have been arrested as a result of California’s marijuana laws, or are simply interested in learning more about the new regulations, contact criminal defense attorney Bradley Corbett.
Bradley Corbett

Bradley Corbett

Bradley Corbett is a criminal defense attorney in San Diego. He graduated from Brigham Young University in Provo Utah in 2004. Later he enrolled at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego where he participated in a prestigious internship program with the Los Angeles County Public Defender. Since then he has handled over 2,000 cases.

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