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When Will I Be Able to Smoke Recreational Marijuana in California?

Sep 29 2017, by Jessica McElfresh in Legal Blog, Marijuana Charges

If you are 21 years of age or older and are asking yourself “when will I be able to smoke recreational marijuana in California,” the answer is now. Under Proposition 64, also known as the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, you may also grow up to six cannabis plants for recreational purposes, as well as possess, transport, or give away up to one ounce of cannabis. There are, however, limits on your ability to smoke recreational marijuana, and they are:

  • No smoking in public places
  • No smoking on federal property
  • No dispensaries are currently allowed to sell recreational marijuana

Although many dispensaries now sell cannabis without checking their clients’ medical cards or physician recommendations, the retail sale of recreational marijuana will not be legal until sometime in early 2018. Cannabis retail operations that choose to sell adult use marijuana without the proper licensing may be subject to civil fines and possible criminal prosecution.

No One Knows When It Will Be Legal to Sell Recreational Cannabis

The AUMA directs the Department of Consumer Affairs to create a Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) , which is the regulatory agency that will issue licenses to recreational cannabis retailers. The BCC has yet to finalize the regulations that will apply to the recreational cannabis industry. The application process for retail licenses has not yet opened. According to the BCC, both the regulations and the application process will be finalized in early 2018.

The likelihood that the BCC will have its regulations and licensing process ready on time is slim. Even the bureau’s chief, Lori Ajax, has recognized the problem. Her proposed solution is to start issuing four-month temporary licenses starting January 1, 2018. The application process will be simplified, and license recipients will supposedly be able to download and print their licenses. Temporary license holders may keep renewing their licenses every four months until the final regulations are in place.

But even the temporary state licensing process won’t solve the problem, since adult use cannabis businesses must have local permission to operate. The only San Diego County municipality that currently has indicated that it will allow such businesses to operate is San Diego City. Thus, the local permitting process for cannabis retail businesses in San Diego has slowed drastically. This means there are limited prospects for opening a new, legal recreational cannabis business in the San Diego area.

What Can Cannabis Entrepreneurs Do for Now?

As the California cannabis industry keeps growing, many entrepreneurs are waiting, but unable to get their share of the market. Until the state licensing application process opens and local governments create a pathway for businesses to start operating, you may think there is nothing you can do.

Municipalities in the San Diego area regularly conducting hearings regarding the regulation of cannabis businesses and farms. You can ensure that common sense cannabis regulations are voted into place by bringing sound arguments and positive energy to these public hearings.

Contact McElfresh Law Today

McElfresh Law is passionate about seeing a recreational cannabis industry flourish in the San Diego Area. Jessica McElfresh is dedicated to helping local medical and recreational cannabis businesses open their doors and enjoy years of successful operation. If you need a San Diego marijuana lawyer to advise you on the legal and administrative aspects of opening a dispensary or farm, call McElfresh Law today at (858) 756-7107 to schedule a consultation.

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