Recreational marijuana use is now legal in California, just as medical marijuana use has been legal since 1996. This is due to the passing of Proposition 64, which made California the fifth state to legalize recreational marijuana consumption. The Adult Use of Marijuana Act (Proposition 64) passed with California voters by a margin of 56% to 44% during the state’s November 8, 2016 general election.
It’s still a crime to grow and sell weed without a license. The feds are interested in prosecuting large-scale marijuana traffickers, but have taken a mostly hands-off approach to the issue of personal possession. So, what are the rules for buying, selling and indulging in Cannabis?
Cities May Establish Their Own Recreational Marijuana Shops—Or Not
California allows its towns and cities to decide on their own whether or not to allow licensed cannabis retailers to open within their borders. However, it is legal statewide for individuals over the age of 21 to grow marijuana plants inside, regardless of how localities govern marijuana sales.
Overview of Existing California Marijuana Laws
The medical marijuana laws established in California in 1996 allow California residents 18 and over with a qualifying medical condition to obtain a medical marijuana permit. The permit allows patients to legally possess up to eight ounces of marijuana. Medical marijuana patients are also permitted to have a maximum of six mature plants or up to 12 immature plants.
Approved Conditions for Medical Marijuana Permits
Medical marijuana use in California is approved for the following conditions: cancer, anorexia, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, migraines, seizures, arthritis, chronic pain, and other debilitating conditions.
Primary Caregivers and Medical Marijuana Laws
Medical California marijuana laws apply to not only the patient, but the patient’s primary caregiver as well. A primary caregiver is someone who is designated by the patient as the caregiver, and who maintains consistent responsibility for the patient’s needs, such as health, safety, and housing. Neither the patient nor the caregiver may ever sell marijuana or possess more than is reasonably necessary to aid in the patient’s medical needs.
How to get a Medical Marijuana Card?
Medical Marijuana Identification Cards (MMIC) are available by completing the necessary application and providing documentation to your local public health department. You’ll need a copy of your doctor’s medical recommendation, proof of identity (e.g. California driver’s license), and proof of residency (lease agreement, utility bill, California motor vehicle registration). Additionally, a $100 fee is required and the application must be submitted in person. People enrolled in the County Medical Services Program may have their application fees waived. Completed applications normally take up to 30 days to process.
Recreational Purchase, Possession, and Use Guidelines
In addition to an expansion of commercial marijuana growth endeavors, Proposition 64 also expands California’s marijuana laws to include recreational consumption by adults aged 21 and older. The new law allows recreational marijuana users age 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana at a time. They may also cultivate up to six plants, as long as plants remain out of public view.
Limits on Marijuana Product Contents and Dose Strength
Prohibited additives include caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, and dairy. Therefore, alcohol-based tinctures, pre-rolled joints, and caffeine-, dairy-, and alcohol-infused products are not allowed. Further, California also places limits on the amount of THC allowed in marijuana products. THC is the main mind-altering ingredient found in the Cannibas plant. Each serving cannot exceed 10 milligrams, and any single package cannot contain more than 100 milligrams of THC.
When Can I Buy Recreational Marijuana in Dispensaries?
Please note that January 1, 2018 is the date on which the state will begin issuing licenses to prospective recreational marijuana sellers—it’s not necessarily the date that marijuana stores will spring up throughout the state. It may take a while for that to happen, although one store in West Hollywood began sales on January 2. A representative for the LAPD said the rollout for new marijuana stores will be done the “L.A. way.” If it takes a little longer, she said, she’s good with that.
Stores in California that sell marijuana cannot legally sell alcohol or tobacco products, which is another limitation of California’s new marijuana laws.