The Golden State Goes Green; New Law of the Land

20 years after pioneering the medical marijuana movement Californians have again spoken out for their right to use marijuana. With the passage of proposition 64, marijuana is now treated very similar to alcohol in the State of California.  Essentially anyone in the state over the age of 21 may grow, purchase, possess and use marijuana without the risk of criminal prosecution.* However the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) does not provide an unqualified right to use marijuana recreationally.  Before firing up that joint in celebration, you should be aware of the following key features and limitations of the AUMA which are now in effect:

–Those over the age of 21 (adults) may purchase, possess, transport or give away up to one ounce of marijuana.

–Adults may cultivate up to 6 plants and possess the marijuana produced from these plants for personal use.

–Plants and marijuana in excess of one ounce must be kept at the Adult’s private residence, in a locked space, and out of sight of any public place.

–Adults may not smoke or ingest marijuana in any public place (except for permitted dispensaries) or within 1,000 feet of a school or youth center where children are present (unless on residential property).

–Adults may transport one ounce of marijuana for personal use, but consumption or possession of an “open container” of marijuana or marijuana products is prohibited while driving or riding as a passenger in a motor vehicle.

–Employers have the right to discriminate against marijuana users, both on and off the job.

–The AUMA does not alter the protections of the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 (Prop 215) allowing medical use of marijuana.

— All marijuana and marijuana products packaging must provide specific label warnings

— Advertisements for marijuana may not make misleading claims or be directed at minors

— Local governments may restrict or completely prohibit any type of activities licensed under the AUMA

— Local governments may permit on-site consumption at licensed retailers and microbusinesses

— All retail marijuana sales are subject to a 15% excise tax in addition to the regular state sales tax

— The current penalties related to marijuana are entirely changed. Among other things minors (those under 18) are not subject to criminal punishment, rather drug education and community service. Further most current felonies are reduced to misdemeanors and or monetary fines.

–Persons previously convicted of offenses that would not be a crime or would be a lesser offense under AUMA may petition the court for a recall or dismissal of their sentence.

*Marijuana remains a schedule I controlled substance under federal law and activities such as possession and use of marijuana are illegal.