Even though recreational marijuana is legal in California, there are still acts that could lead to an arrest or criminal charge.
Voters in California chose to decriminalize marijuana in 2016. The state had already passed the Compassionate Use Act in 1996, enabling people to use marijuana for medical purposes. With the most recent legislation, people in the state are able to use it for recreational purposes as well.
However, there are still strings attached. Though marijuana use has largely been legalized, people in California should be aware that certain acts are still considered against the law.
What does the law say?
The law states that adults who are 21 or older are able to possess, purchase or consume up to 1 ounce of marijuana. However, this is only permissible if the person is in his or her private residence or in a place that holds a license for marijuana consumption.
What if I am younger than 21?
Under the law, people between 18 and 21 would be found guilty of an infraction that could result in a fine of $100. People younger than 18 would have to participate in counseling or a drug education program as well as community service. If the amount of marijuana found exceeds 1 ounce, the penalties increase in include possible imprisonment.
Can I legally grow marijuana?
Yes – but there are limitations. According to the law, adults may grow as many as six marijuana plants. However, the plants must be located in a secure place. Further, the plants may not be visible to the public.
There is an additional stipulation: The plants may not be grown with an intent to sell them. Doing so is a felony that is punishable by up to three years in jail.
Can I now legally sell marijuana?
A resident who grows marijuana on his or her property is not legally allowed to sell. Selling marijuana without a license to do so is considered a misdemeanor that could result in a fine and up to six months in jail. However, starting in January 2018, people will be able to apply for a license for the retail sale of marijuana to non-medical users.
What else should I know about legally using marijuana in California?
Even if someone uses marijuana legally, there are still a few items he or she should know. For example, it is still illegal to consume the substance and get behind the wheel of a car. Further, the law states that a passenger in a vehicle may not use marijuana while in the vehicle.
It is legal for a landlord to dictate that tenants may not possess marijuana on the premises. Lastly, employers can – and do – have drug-free policies that demand workers avoid marijuana as well as other substances. Therefore, someone could lose his or her job upon a positive test or proof of marijuana use.
Because the landscape of the law continues to change, people in California using marijuana should have a firm grasp on what is legal and what could land them in hot water. Anyone who has concerns about this topic should speak with a criminal law attorney in the state.