A More Progressive State
Laws are always changing, especially in a progressive state like California. Like recent changes in Washington and Oregon, California's marijuana laws have recently been changed under Proposition 64, which was passed by voters in the November 2016 election. Marijuana users across California probably want to know exactly what Prop. 64 did and how it will affect them going forward. It is very important to understand the details of Prop. 64 because there are still many marijuana offenses for which you can be arrested and charged.
It's All in the Details
The law is rarely cut and dry, and it is important to understand the specifics of each law in order to thoroughly understand your rights. Contrary to popular belief, Prop.64 didn't comprehensively legalize marijuana. This may come to a surprise to some. In fact, no state has passed a comprehensive legalization of marijuana. Rather, laws have been changed to decriminalize certain non-violent marijuana charges. Read on to learn what Prop. 64 means for California's marijuana users.
Prop. 64 legalized adult possession of up to one ounce (about 28.5 grams) of marijuana or up to 8 grams of concentrated marijuana. For the purposes of this law, “adult” is defined as anyone over the age of 21. Eventually, California will begin selling recreational marijuana at legal shops, much like Colorado and Washington are. Previously, you could face an infraction (a criminal offense on the same level as a traffic ticket) for possession of up to one ounce for personal use. It is also legal to transport, obtain, or give away to legal users up to one ounce of marijuana.
Californians can now maintain and cultivate up to six cannabis plants per residence (i.e. household) and possess the harvested plant. Harvests in excess of one ounce need to be locked and kept out of public view.
Medical marijuana patients are not affected directly by Prop. 64. They can still obtain and use marijuana for medicinal reasons if adhering to the current laws. The limits for possession and cultivation set forth by Prop. 64 for recreational users do not apply to medical users.
Prop. 64 did not legalize the sale of marijuana by unlicensed entities in any quantity or form. It also did not legalize driving under the influence of marijuana, consuming or possession of marijuana while driving, the consumption of marijuana in any public place or the use of inhalant forms in any non-smoking area, or any possession or use by minors under the age of 21. It is also still illegal to possess marijuana at a school, day care, childcare, or youth facility when children are present. Possession of anything more than one ounce is a misdemeanor charge, punishable by up to six months in jail and/or a fine.
It is also important to know that private entities such as apartment complexes and employers can still prohibit people from consuming or possessing marijuana. There is no employment protection for employees who use marijuana, and there are no tenant protections as of yet.
Prop. 64 has changed the legal landscape for recreational marijuana users in California, but it has left many of California's marijuana laws untouched. While possession of small amounts for personal use by adults is legal now, there are many marijuana offenses for which you can still be charged, such as selling marijuana, using it in public, or use by minors. Make sure you thoroughly understand California's marijuana laws if you are a user.
Know Your Rights
If you have questions about how Prop. 64 affects you, speak with an experienced California criminal defense attorney. Marijuana law is complex, and there are still many marijuana offenses that can result in criminal prosecution. The difference between legality and criminal liability is only a matter of a few grams in some cases. An attorney can investigate the facts and circumstances of your case and advise you of your options if you are facing charges. An attorney can also recommend a plan of action and help you defend your rights.
Do you have questions about drug convictions? Visalia area criminal defense attorney Christopher Martens can assist you with fighting your charges and defending your rights. With over ten years of criminal defense experience, Mr. Martens has handled thousands of cases and has taken over 50 to trial. Attorney Christopher Martens has the skills and knowledge needed to defend your rights. Serving the Visalia and Fresno areas, The Law Offices of Christopher Martens can provide expert criminal defense counsel. Call our office at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] for a free consultation.