The recent election drastically changed California’s marijuana laws as it legalized use of the drug for recreational use. But that doesn’t mean you can light up wherever you want or start selling it out of your house. Here’s what you should know about our state’s new recreational marijuana laws according to Rancho Bernardo drug defense lawyer Peter M. Liss.
First, it’s worth knowing that while many other states that legalized recreational drug use set time frames before that use was legal, California’s law came into effect immediately. But that only applies to personal use and sharing the drugs with friends -not selling the drug. Selling marijuana outside of already existing medicinal marijuana dispensaries will not be legal until 2018. This is in part because legislators plan to set up licenses for sellers, but needs time to develop the details of how those licenses will be issued and those sales will be taxed. In the meanwhile, those caught selling marijuana can be charged with a misdemeanor.
Next, even if you are using the marijuana yourself, you must be over 21 and you cannot smoke anywhere. Just like alcohol use, minors are still banned from using marijuana. Even if you are of legal age, it is also illegal to use the drug on public property, so use will generally need to be limited to your home and the homes of your friends. After licenses for sale are enacted, you may be able to smoke in certain businesses, but even then, places that sell alcohol or tobacco are excluded from selling the drug, so you will not be able to smoke in bars or tobacco shops.
You can, however, take marijuana with you in public as long as you are not using it and are not going to board an airplane or cross state lines. Public possession is limited to quantities under one ounce of flowers/buds or eight grams of concentrates. Possession of more than that quantity could be charged as possession for sale, which requires the assistance of a Mira Mesa drug defense lawyer.
Additionally, because marijuana is still illegal under federal law, it is illegal to take across state lines or on an airplane. If you are caught possessing marijuana under either of these situations, you will need the assistance of an Escondido federal crimes attorney to help you fight the charges, which are much more serious than California marijuana drug charges.
One thing that will not change at all is the law banning driving while under the influence of marijuana. Unfortunately, it is difficult to accurately test the intoxication of someone using marijuana while driving, so you should speak to a Carmel Valley DUI defense attorney if you have been accused of driving under the influence of pot.
If you have any questions about California’s rapidly changing marijuana laws, please call (760) 643-4050 to schedule a free initial consultation with Peter M. Liss.
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