California is on the verge of joining other states like Maine, Aziona, Massachusetts and Nevada on the legal use of recreational marijuana. This is an initiative seeking to legalize the use of marijuana amongst adults. Come November 8, Californians will be voting to either pass or reject proposition 64, which is the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA). Once passed, this proposition will allow adults to buy and use cannabis on legal grounds. But before votes are cast, what laws govern the use of recreational marijuana in California? Here are important regulations to note, in what seems as an improvement of existing recreational marijuana laws that is still illegal in California. These laws control, regulate and tax the liable use of marijuana among adults as it protects children and safe guards local control, protecting public safety and public health and defending water resources and the environment at large in the following ways:
Possession and use: Any adult of 21 years of age and above will be allowed to use an ounce or less of cannabis. Users are also allowed to take only eight grams of cannabis concentrates. This will end the prohibition law enacted 103 years ago. However, sales of marijuana for use to adults will have to wait until January 1, 2018 and again will happen in regions that will permit that. Anything done out of these provisions will be punishable by law.
Marijuana Growing and Manufacturing: Adults will be allowed to cultivate marijuana up to six plants for individual use. This will be permitted on a private and enclosed space. However, this limit does not apply to medical patients who are governed by prop. 215 giving them room to cultivate and possess as much marijuana as they would need for medical reasons. On the same note, local authorities are forbidden from completely banning indoor cultivation for individual use.
To protect children from accessing weed and advance the safe use of marijuana by adults, the packaging, labeling and testing of all weed products will be highly regulated as follows: the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) will in charge as the main regulatory agency whereas the Department of Public Health (DPH) will keep watch over the testing and manufacturing of marijuana products. On the other hand, cultivation of marijuana will be under the Department of Food & Agriculture (DFA).
Marijuana Promotion: The advertisement and marketing of recreational marijuana to anyone less than the age limit provided of 21 years or close to places inhabited by children including schools is prohibited.
Penalties for breaching set guidelines: The penalties for violating guidelines laid out on sale, growing, transportation and the possession with the purpose of selling involving mandatory felonies and misdemeanors have been downgraded. This will largely eliminated the main cause of felony marijuana arrest all over California. However, felony enhancements are still permitted for third-time offenders and aggravating or violent conditions. Even with all that, the laws do not increase the penalties on top of what is already in force. Jail and prison sentences for minors under the age of 18 have also been eliminated. Additionally, previous prisoners, parolees and offenders have been given room to petition established courts for resentencing or an automatic dismissal of charges placed against them.
Fine on public use of marijuana: marijuana users found to be using the herb in any public lace will be required to pay a $100 fine. Note that a tobacco smoking area is also regarded as a public place and no one should stay ignorant of that. Further, the laws prohibit the possession or use of an “open container” of cannabis in motor vehicles and that includes back-seat passengers too. Vaporization in all areas not designated for smoking is also prohibited. However, users can smoke their marijuana on-site in establishments that re well-defined and licensed.
Marijuana Sales alongside Other Drugs: The sale of recreational cannabis shall not be permitted to happen in business that currently engage in the sale of such drug substances as tobacco or alcohol. Therefore, it is very important for dealers and users to consider the true definition of “private” before making assumptions about the business around recreational marijuana.
Driving: Driving while in an impaired state occasioned through the use of marijuana is illegal and will be punishable by the law if anyone will be found a culprit. Therefore, the law maintains that anyone caught driving in an impaired state, as would be determined by officers will be punishable by the law. Users are therefore advised to do personal tests before driving to make sure they will not be found guilty of an offence of this kind.
Tax laws: For those seeking to venture in the marijuana trade industry, there will be a $9.25 tax imposed for every ounce on wholesale growing. This is almost 10% of the existing prices. There will also be a significant 16% excise tax on retailing with an additional 7.5 + % sales tax that still exists.
Additionally, local governments may consider imposing taxes that are not clearly defined based on their discretion. Some may be as significant as 10%. However, industry experts say that the cost of cannabis will decrease significantly in the end.
Revenue from Marijuana: Expected to hit a high of $1billion on annual basis, revenue collected will be directed for treatment and prevention programs, education on drug abuse, restoring the environment, in research and giving grants to law enforcement and local governments in areas that don’t ban the sale of marijuana or individual outdoor growing.
Amendments: Even as citizens prepare to cast their votes, it is important to note that the laws make a provision for amendments in the future. This could be conducted through a simple majority of legislatures.
Federal Regulation: Even with the laws enacted to operate in California for the growth and use of recreational marijuana among adults, cannabis use remains illegal as provided by the federal government. In that case, federal charges will apply should there be practices found to contravene the already established guidelines under the federal Controlled Substances Act.