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California Prop 64 Overview

Last November, tens of thousands of California voters showed up to the polls to officially make California the 8th state in the country to legalize recreational marijuana. Proposition 64, a ballot initiative to legalize marijuana in the state, passed with 57.13% of the “yes” vote. This is not the first time in California’s history that a referendum has legalized marijuana possession and use in the state. In 1996, Californians voted to pass Proposition 215, which legalized medical marijuana use.

Proposition 64 won’t take effect until January 1, 2018, giving the state plenty of time to adjust to the new regulations. Here is an overview of Proposition 64 and what is means for marijuana smokers, growers, and retailers in California.

Benefits of Legalizing Recreational Marijuana Use in California

Proposition 64 had considerable support from lawmakers, celebrities, and the public. Other states in the country have had success in reducing crime and generating revenue to pay for important public projects. In passing Proposition 64, California acknowledged an interest in:

One major implication of Proposition 64 is its effect on individuals who are currently serving time for a marijuana-related offense. Those individuals who are currently in jail for activities made legal under Proposition 64 may be eligible for resentencing and to have their criminal records (relevant to marijuana-related offenses) destroyed. For more information, contact a drug crimes attorney in California.

Understanding How Prop 64 Changes the Law

On January 1, 2018, the laws will officially be changed in the state of California. While some recreational marijuana possession and use will be legal, Prop 64 is not a blanket legalization for all recreational marijuana use. It is important to understand when, where, how, and (in some cases) why you are permitted to smoke recreationally in California. Breaking the new laws can still have serious consequences.

Who can possess, use, and grow marijuana recreationally in California, and how much?

Adults age 21 and older may possess and use up to 28.5 grams marijuana or 8.5 grams of concentrated marijuana for recreational purposes. Note, there is a strict prohibition on the possession any marijuana on school grounds, day care centers, and youth centers while children are present.

Where can you smoke marijuana recreationally in California?

Adults can smoke marijuana recreationally on private property or in businesses specifically licensed for on-site consumption. Adults may not smoke marijuana recreationally in vehicles, on public property, or in any place where the consumption of tobacco is prohibited.

Where can you grow marijuana recreationally in California, and how much?

Adults may grow up to 6 plants in a private home for personal use and consumption. The plants must be contained in a locked space and out of the view of the public.

Who can sell marijuana in California under Prop 64?

Those interested in selling recreational marijuana must obtain a license from the state (and in some cases, local) government. No business may be located or sell marijuana within 600 feet of a school, day care center, or youth center. To prevent a monopoly on the market, larger retailers will be prohibited from obtaining the necessary license until 2022.

Who will regulate marijuana use in California under Prop 64?

California already has a body in place to regulate recreational marijuana. The Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation will now be known as the Bureau of Marijuana Control and will extend its oversight to cover both medicinal and recreational marijuana. The Bureau will oversee the labeling, advertising, and marketing of recreational marijuana to ensure it adheres to specific standards and restrictions.

Taxation of Marijuana Under Proposition 64

Legalizing recreational marijuana comes at a cost. One of the major motivations for introducing Prop 64 was so that California could reap the benefits of related taxes, as other states in the country have done.

Proposition 64 will introduce two new taxes. The first is a cultivation tax, which will apply a $9.25 per ounce tax to flowers and a $2.75 per ounce tax for leaves. The second is a retail sales tax, which will impose a 15% sales tax on the sale of recreational marijuana.

So, recreational marijuana will be taxed at least twice – first when the plant is harvested, and then again when it is sold.

Proposition 64 does not change the law for medicinal patients. In fact, reports indicate that medical marijuana patients will continue to pay less for marijuana due to exemptions from the new marijuana-related taxes.

Local Governments and Proposition 64

Proposition 64 includes specific language that allows local governments to exercise some discretion in the treatment of recreational marijuana use. Local governments may:

Penalties for Violation of Proposition 64

Proposition 64 is not a blanket legalization of marijuana use in California. Instead, it legalizes some recreational marijuana use, possession, and growth. Violations of the law may result in jail time, fines, probation, and/or required counseling. Some violations and penalties include:

With the passing of Proposition 64, California is signaling a shift in its attitude toward recreational marijuana use. However, breaking the law can still have serious consequences. Contact an experienced California criminal defense attorney today to learn about the changes in the law and your legal rights.