Although medical marijuana has been legal in California for two decades, recreational marijuana use was not. On Tuesday, Nov. 8, voters considered marijuana legalization and Proposition 64 was approved 56-44 percent, making the recreational use of marijuana legal. Prior to this ballot measure, personal possession of recreational marijuana was a civil infraction, but other marijuana offenses, including growing, sales, and transportation, were criminal and could result in jail time.

The approval of this California marijuana legalization ballot measure could have a significant impact on the number of criminal prosecutions in California, meaning fewer people end up in the criminal justice system for drug crimes.

Nate Bradley, the executive director of the California Cannabis Industry Association explained that Prop 64 will give the state the opportunity to make its mark in the innovation, research, and development of marijuana.

What Does Prop 64 Entail?

Some of the changes to California criminal law under Prop 64 include:

  • Adults over age 21 can possess, transport (in a closed container and not while consuming), and give away (meaning for free) no more than one ounce of marijuana plant material or 8 grams of concentrated cannabis.
  • Adults can cultivate up to six plants per residence indoors and out of public view. You need to lock the space as well, and keep out of the reach or access of children. You can keep the marijuana produced by those plants for yourself or give it away (meaning for free) to your friends and family who are over age 21. Please note, local governments can forbid outdoor cultivation of recreational plants and they can also impose reasonable restrictions on this indoor cultivation, though they cannot ban indoor cultivation. Please also note, your apartment building, condo association, or possibly even your homeowner’s association may likely ban or hinder this activity.
  • Many marijuana offenses that were felonies have been reduced in most cases and for most people to misdemeanors. These include but are not limited to cultivation, sales, possession with intent to sell, and transportation. These changes in law are retroactive, meaning that many people with old convictions and current cases can seek to have their felony conviction or charge changed to a misdemeanor conviction or charge for all purposes, a misdemeanor to an infraction, etc. The courts will be preparing the steps and forms for seeking these changes to old convictions.

Please note, manufacturing concentrated cannabis using a volatile solvent remains a felony, unless done with a license from a local jurisdiction. So, no making butane concentrates at home, though other methods of extraction are allowed. Volatile solvent is defined as follows: explosive gases such as butane, propane, xylene, styrene, gasoline, kerosene, O2 or H2, and dangerous poisons or toxins such as methane, isopropyl alcohol, methylene chloride, acetone, benzene, toluene, and tri-chloro-ethylene.

Commercial Adult Use Market – In Time

Though Proposition 64 allows for a regulated market for the production and sale of adult-use cannabis, that change will take time. Commercial sales and other uses for adult use cannabis will not occur until local and state governments issue licenses for these uses. California will have until Jan. 1, 2018 to start distributing sales licenses for recreational retailers.

Local governments maintain control over allowing commercial conduct, meaning that as with medical marijuana businesses, the local government must decide to allow these commercial uses. We expect that local governments will begin debating allowing these commercial uses, similar to how many local governments have debated allowing medical cannabis uses of land since the passage of the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act.

Thus, collectives and cooperatives must continue to abide by the same rules currently in place under California law.

Different Viewpoints on California Marijuana Legalization

The Peace Officers Research Association of California, the California Association of Highway Patrolmen, and other well-known law enforcement groups opposed Proposition 64 leading up to the election. They asserted that legalizing marijuana for recreational use can lead to drug abuse by teenagers as well as impaired driving that’s seen in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, states where recreational marijuana was legalized in the past.

Steve DeAngelo of Harborside, the California marijuana company, has a different perspective. He believes that the approval of Proposition 64 is progress toward a more inclusive, equitable, and tolerant way of life for California residents. He is also confident that it will give other states and countries hope that change is coming.

Contact a San Diego Marijuana Lawyer Today

As you know, marijuana laws in California are complicated and ever-evolving. If you have been charged with a marijuana crime, you are probably wondering how Proposition 64 will affect your case. San Diego marijuana lawyer Jessica McElfresh can help you understand what your options are so that you can get your life back on track.

Contact McElfresh Law at (858) 756-7107 for a case consultation.

California marijuana laws change frequently. For updated information, see the following pages: Medicinal Uses of Marijuana and Recreational Marijuana Business

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