California is set to launch its version of a fully legal cannabis industry sometime next year. The guts of the new law, which was assembled by Governor Jerry Brown and key legislative forces, is an attempt to integrate the state’s two-decade-old medical marijuana scene and the voter approved Proposition 64. The overall goal is to create a unified system that allows medical and recreational marijuana to be sold in the same dispensaries – keeping pot-related businesses to a minimum while continuing to service the market equally.
At the same time, several state agencies are working to craft the regulations needed to begin issuing recreational marijuana licenses at the turn of 2018. The California Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation, which, depending on the outcome of the bill expected to find final approval later this week, could end up overseeing every facet of the cannabis industry. The agency hopes to have all of the details hashed out within the next five months.
Although Proposition 64 brought marijuana prohibition to a screeching halt throughout the Golden State, the initiative still gives local jurisdictions the opportunity to establish their own rules and impose bans. Even in areas where pot is just as acceptable as alcoholic beverages, it is important to understand that there are still rules to the game – and breaking them could lead to unwanted troubles with the law.
Here are a few crucial pieces of information about legal marijuana in California that might help save your behind:
Open Container Laws Apply To Marijuana
“Similar to alcohol laws, the state can issue a $100 infraction for driving with an “open container,” writes Taryn Luna with the Sacramento Bee. “The bill defines an open container as any receptacle of marijuana or weed products (edibles, vape pens, etc.) that is open, has been previously opened or has a broken seal, as well as loose cannabis flowers not in a container. You’re safe if you put your “open container” in the trunk.”
Medical Marijuana Cardholders Are the Exception
Registered patients “can drive with a closed container of marijuana products that have been previously opened,” but cannot consume marijuana while operating a motor vehicle.
Driving While High Can Get You Arrested, But Always Fight It
Although no one has any idea how to measure marijuana impairment, law enforcement is still out there looking to bust motorists for stoned driving.
“In most cases,” Luna writes, “if you are pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence, fail field sobriety tests and appear impaired, you will be asked to take a breath test for alcohol. If there’s little or no alcohol in your system and police suspect marijuana or other drug impairment, you may have to talk to a drug recognition expert and/or submit to a blood test.”
But marijuana impairment is difficult to prove. In Colorado, prosecutors say that most stoned driving cases end in acquittal if taken before a jury because the law does not provide a solid foundation to hold people accountable for this offense. So, until the system puts an effective testing device on the streets, it is wise to always fight DUID cases.
You Can Still Get Fired For Failing A Drug Test
Because marijuana remains illegal in the eyes of the federal government, “employers in California are still allowed to operate drug-free workplaces and fire you for violating their rules related to marijuana consumption,” Lana writes.
No, You Cannot Smoke Weed On The Street
Under Proposition 64, public consumption is illegal.
You Can Grow Your Own Marijuana At Home
Adults 21 and over can grow up to six plants at home for personal use. However, the plants must be kept out of public view.
“Local jurisdictions can ban outdoor cultivation, but cannot prohibit indoor cultivation,” Luna writes. “By law, you’re clear to grow plants in the garage if your town blocks you from growing in the backyard.”