Cannabis Laws by State – California Cannabis Information
As of January 1, 2018, California has reduced sentences for most marijuana offenses, which includes removing nearly all of the felony offenses for marijuana possession and consumption. That’s not even the best part — Prop 64, the proposition that achieved this, also made it legal for any adult 21 and up to smoke and cultivate marijuana, as long as it’s for your own private use. Of course, laws are rarely that straightforward, which means that there’s definitely some more information to be had about this new change in the laws. Here’s everything you need to know about these new California updates.
It’s not just a free-for-all now that it’s legal.
Unfortunately, just because it’s legal statewide doesn’t mean that every city has to allow it. Cities can be more strict than the statewide allowance, and many cities aren’t allowing recreational marijuana sales. In addition, it’s illegal to smoke in public, even in areas where it’s legal to smoke cigarettes, though some places are opening cannabis lounges for this exact purpose. While it’s also legal to grow up to six plants per household, there’s still some confusion over whether or not you need a permit, and most places are banning outdoor home cannabis gardens. It’s extremely important to check the laws in your area before doing anything.
There are still many fines and potential misdemeanors for infractions.
Fines for infractions of California’s new cannabis laws range up to $250, and those under the age of 18 will have to go through a drug education program and do community service. Repeated infractions or more serious crimes, such as importing or exporting cannabis, can incur up to a $500 fine or jail time. This can also be expounded with other criminal charges, such as sex offenses.
However, these have been substantially lowered from the previous laws.
A great thing about this proposition is that it’s opened the door to erase old felony records in relation to marijuana, as well as to reduce the sentences of those who are currently serving time for punishment under the old laws. There were plenty of felony and misdemeanor charges for marijuana before this proposition passed, and now you can apply to get those cleared from your record.
When your record gets expunged, you effectively don’t have it anymore — if an employer asks if you have a felony charge, you don’t, even if you were convicted of it before the law changed. Of course, it’s always a good idea to have a look around and see if there are any lingering knowledge of an old conviction on your record. PeopleFinders can help, with a simple, easy-to-use background check feature that can give you the information you’re looking for.
Medical marijuana is now taxed in much the same way as recreational.
This is a bit of a sticky point, but there are actually reasons why this could be a really good thing. In Washington, when recreational marijuana was legalized, many people opted for a fairly easy-to-obtain medical marijuana card to skip past the taxes. The solution those states used was to make it substantially more difficult to obtain those cards, potentially making it extremely difficult for people who actually needed the cards to get approved for them. No need to worry too much, though — medical marijuana users don’t have to pay local or state sales tax on their purchases, and it’s extremely likely that as the recreational marijuana market settles in, prices will drop, making the 15% tax not quite so heavy.
No, you probably can’t sell it — but you can give it away.
Dispensaries that are going to sell recreational marijuana need to apply for an entirely new permit, and that permit is pretty difficult to get for an individual. However, the law prohibits you only from selling it to other people, not from giving it away, and in fact, that’s completely legal. You can give away dried cannabis, fresh cannabis, and even full plants, as long as no money is exchanging hands.
For those who enjoy using cannabis recreationally, or those who would like to use it for illnesses but were never able to jump through the hoops of getting a medical marijuana card, this new proposition is great. In decreasing the fines and charges for infractions, they’ve also allowed people with previous convictions to clean their records from ultimately harmless things that may have happened decades ago. California has officially joined a handful of states moving forward in the journey toward legalizing marijuana, and it’s a great step for the people living there.
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