California has been one of the most progressive states when it comes to the legalization of marijuana. In fact, its use is legal for both medicinal and recreational purposes, but there are still many rules regarding its use and sale. And, of course, it is important to note that federal law still makes possession of marijuana for any reason illegal. That’s why you should read up about California’s cannabis laws before you make a mistake that could leave you in need of a marijuana criminal lawyer.
California Marijuana Laws Limit Where You Can Smoke
Just because marijuana use is legal in California doesn’t mean you can just go anywhere in the state and smoke it. First of all, it is only legal to use on private property, so you cannot smoke on the sidewalk, beach, at a park, or any other public space. Second, certain private places are prohibited from allowing patrons to smoke on the premises. These include anywhere selling tobacco or alcohol, so tobacco shops and bars cannot permit marijuana use.
Marijuana Use While Driving
Just like it is both illegal to drive drunk and illegal to drink a beer while driving even if you’re not drunk, California’s marijuana rules make it illegal to drive while high and with an open container of marijuana even if you’re not high. Driving under the influence is a very serious charge whether it involves marijuana or alcohol and you should always fight this charge with the help of a top Vista cannabis lawyer. It’s worth noting that there is no legal limit for the amount of marijuana a person can use before being considered high, so even saying to a police officer that you only smoked a puff or two can be used as evidence against you.
It is an infraction to have an open package of marijuana in the passenger compartment of a vehicle. The marijuana has to be a unopened package or stored in the trunk. Driving with loose marijuana flowers (or buds) or a previously opened container that holds marijuana is an infraction punishable by up to $100 in fines, although medical marijuana patients can have a previously opened container in the vehicle as long as it is closed while driving and the patient is not high behind the wheel.
Possession and Transportation
Only those over 21 or those over 18 with a valid medical marijuana prescription can smoke marijuana and therefore, only those persons can possess it. Juveniles in possession of marijuana will face minor in possession charges similar to those caught possessing alcohol.
For those who can use the drug legally, California marijuana laws limit possession to one ounce of flower or eight ounces of concentrates. If you are in possession of more than that, you could be charged with possession with intent to sell.
Because pot is still illegal federally, you cannot possess marijuana while on federal property. You also cannot transport it across state lines, send it in the mail or take it on a plane as these modes of transportation are all under federal regulation.
Selling Cannabis Illegally
Only legally licensed marijuana dispensaries can sell cannabis and even then, they can only sell it to those over 21 or those over 18 who have a medical prescription. If you are caught selling marijuana to an adult, you can be charged with a misdemeanor. In many cases, police distinguish the difference between having cannabis for personal use and possession with the intent to sell can through small details like whether you have any packaging materials, scales, cash, etc. that would suggest you intend to sell the substance.
If you sell or freely give marijuana to a minor, you can be charged with a felony punishable by up to five years and up to seven years if she was under 14. If you are accused of attempting to illegally sell marijuana to an adult or a minor, speak with a San Diego cannabis defense attorney as soon as possible.
If you have been charged with breaking any of California’s many pot laws including possession with intent to sell, driving under the influence or giving the drug to a minor, please call attorney Peter M. Liss at (760) 643-4050.
Creative Commons Image by Torben Bjorn Hansen