With the approval of Proposition 64 on November 8, 2016, California residents now have the ability to smoke marijuana recreationally. However, Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently made it clear that use and possession of marijuana is still illegal at the Federal level. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra responded by stating “In California, we decided it was best to regulate, not criminalize, cannabis… We intend to vigorously enforce our state’s laws and protect our state’s interests.”
This divide between the federal government and the state of California creates a lot of confusion when police and local courts try to apply the law. Further confusing the matter, individual cities can regulate how the laws and allowances are implemented within city limits. For instance, the ACLU and the Drug Policy Alliance recently filed a lawsuit against the City of Fontana, (the 2nd largest city in San Bernardino County), because the city is mandating a $411.12 permit in order to grow the six allowed plants within one’s home for private use along with other restrictions.
Here is a list of California’s current marijuana laws:
- Adults 21+ can legally possess, transport, and grow marijuana for recreational use. Marijuana businesses must wait until they obtain a license in order to sell.
- Police are not allowed to use the smell of marijuana or the presence of cannabis products as a reason to detain or search you or your place.
- Every Adult 21+ can have at one time a maximum of one ounce of marijuana, 8 grams of marijuana concentrate and 6 plants.
- Using Marijuana in public is not legal, Smoking areas are being considered.
- Marijuana is a legal commodity. This falls in the same category as alcohol like wine or vodka.
- Recreational Marijuana shops are not allowed to be within a minimum of 600 feet of youth centers, day care centers, and schools.
- Driving under the influence of marijuana is illegal.
- Any Cannabis edible products must be labeled, specifying safe portion sizes and warnings about potential side effects.
- Businesses that sell alcohol or tobacco do not have the authority to sell cannabis or vice versa.
- Local communities can regulate marijuana locations and ban cannabis transactions by ordinance and through local zoning regulations.
- Local communities cannot ban residents who want to grow marijuana plants at their homes or ban the use, possession and transportation of marijuana.
- Customers of recreational marijuana must show a picture ID to verify their age of 21+
- The law allows people with prior marijuana convictions to request the courts to revisit previous marijuana cases.
- Criminal penalties for non-serious marijuana-related offenses such as possession of more than an ounce of marijuana, are reduced to misdemeanors.
- Recreational cannabis users cannot buy marijuana in another state and import it into California, as this violates Federal law and interstate business.
- You cannot sell marijuana to another person without a license but you can share it.
- Medical marijuana patients’ personal information that is disclosed to government is protected under the Confidentiality of Medical Information Act.
You may find that it can be a bit confusing to understand every law regarding the recreational usage of marijuana in California. Unfortunately, due to the conflicting federal, state and city-level rules of implementation, the next few years will continue to be frustrating for recreational users who want to follow the law. Make sure to consult with our experienced criminal defense attorneys if you or a family member has been accused of breaking these laws.
The Law Offices of Michael A. Scafiddi has been providing experienced advocacy in various types of civil and criminal matters throughout Southern California. We have offices in San Bernardino, Temecula and San Diego and provide legal services for criminal defense matters ranging from misdemeanor to felony offenses. These areas of practice include, but are not limited to, DUI’s, Vehicular manslaughter, Drug offense, theft offense, domestic violence, and post-conviction relief. Call The Law Offices of Michael A. Scafiddi today at 909-381-1000 to schedule a consultation regarding your case.