California Just Legalized Recreational Marijuana: Here is What Will Happen Next

This past election, California voters chose to join the ranks of their northern neighbors Oregon and Washington, along with Alaska, Colorado, and Massachusetts, to legalize the use of recreational marijuana. California Proposition 64, the California Marijuana Legalization Initiative (also referred to as the Adult Use of Marijuana Act), is the product of a long-fought ballot initiative. It is effective immediately, which means November 8 was the law’s date of passage.

Proponents of the ballot initiative have argued that drug charges disproportionally affect Hispanic or African-American communities, which have an arrest rate of 35% and 350% more often than whites, respectively. Additionally, California is predicted to earn $1 billion in from tax revenues. Most of that will be set aside for youth programs, cleaning up environmental damage caused by cannabis growers, and California Highway Patrol programs.

What Prop 64 Does

The law makes it legal for those who are 21 and older to legally possess up to an ounce of weed, as well as grow up to six plants for personal use. Businesses, from seeds to dispensary stores, will be required to be licensed by 2018. It is now up to the state agency to start the regulation.  Businesses cannot sell recreational cannibis until sales licenses have been issued. However, it should be noted that local jurisdictions, through their city councils and local governments, may still ban sales, production, and business licenses. Additionally, this law does not allow folks to do whatever they want. You are still not allowed to smoke marijuana in public, or you will face a $100 fine. It is also still illegal to drive under the influence of any substance.

The name of the state agency that will regulate and license marijuana sales will also immediately change from the current Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation to the state Bureau of Marijuana Control to reflect its broader mission. Lastly, the law allows you to revisit old charges.  For example, if your conviction was for cultivating fewer than six plants at home, you can have your conviction wiped because cultivation of up to six plants is now legal.

How Will it Affect the Workplace?

Even though recreational marijuana is now legal, California employers still have the right to drug test you and require you do your job while completely sober. Since there is no bright-line test to decipher between “under the influence” or “in one’s system,” employers may still require you to be completely drug free. This is done via private contracting between you and your employer, and not criminal law.

San Diego Marijuana and  Defense Lawyer

Criminal defense attorney David M. Boertje has extensive experience fighting both low-level and high-level drug possession charges. If you have been charged in the past or arrested for the possession of marijuana, drugs or any other drug-related offense, contact The Law Offices of David M. Boertje today. Initial consultations are free and confidential.