The yearlong wait for those who voted in favor of Proposition 64 is finally over. January 1, or as close thereafter as possible, is the target date for recreational sales to start at all licensed stores in California. During the November ballot of 2016, voters approved the legalization of cannabis for adults 21-years or older, and lawmakers have been drafting regulations ever since to track and oversee its sales.
Adults in California can now buy weed legally, either through online marijuana stores or at state-licensed marijuana dispensaries, but how safe is it really, and what do consumers need to know about it? After all, cannabis remains an illegal Schedule 1 drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970. Rest assured, pot sales are safe, but there are some things to know before running out to buy it:
Just because marijuana is now legal does not mean you can have as much of it as you want. The state limits the amount of pot you can buy each day to just a single ounce. The only exception to this restriction is for medical patients, who may have as much as they need, provided they have the correct authorization from a state-licensed physician.
You will not be able to test products and strains before buying them. This is because it is illegal to smoke in most public spaces and on most public premises, and most especially not weed. Always remember this rule when purchasing recreational pot. If caught consuming it in any public area, you could face misdemeanor charges, particularly if found anywhere near daycare centers, playgrounds, and schools.
Medical patients have been using online marijuana stores for years. Currently, the law allows weed delivery to those with doctor’s recommendation letters only, but lawmakers are still drafting distribution rules for the recreational market. Most online marijuana stores already have plans in place to offer weed delivery, and while the law is still debating regulations, most see it as the future of sales.
You will be able to drive with marijuana inside your car, provided you comply with certain state rules. Store all pot inside your trunk, and only in sealed containers. It should not be visible inside your car, and most certainly not lying open on the passenger seat. However, it is still illegal to drive across state lines with weed, even into other states that allow the use of it, such as Nevada.
Under federal law, all cannabis sales are illegal. Technically, California is breaking federal law, and any banks servicing companies involved in the marijuana industry would be too. For this reason, most cannabis businesses do not have access to financial services, and as such, must conduct pot sales in cash. You will not be able to use your credit card or any other form of payment. It is a cash-only industry.
There are hundreds of different marijuana strains in existence, each with unique characteristics, effects, and medical benefits. The sheer abundance of choice can be overwhelming, and then there is more to confuse newbies, as well: Cannabis comes in many forms, including buds, concentrates, liquids, edibles, topical creams, and even feminine hygiene products. It may help to do some research before shopping.
Help is available. There are many avenues to get the information you need about strains, methods of consumption, different products, and types of ‘high.’ All marijuana dispensaries employ “budtenders” knowledgeable about cannabis to advise and help consumers. Online marijuana stores also have dedicated staff to provide guidance, and the Internet is a haven of data for the avid connoisseur.