The days of your cops taking your pot or arresting you in California might be over. The state's medical marijuana law has allowed some to escape this risk, probably in fact many more than those who truly need it for a medical reason. But now following Proposition 64 — which passed on Nov. 8 — marijuana is no longer illegal. So when can you smoke weed in California legally?
As Capital Public Radio reports, because there is no specified grace period, the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act comes into effect right after Election Day. Plus, if you were caught on Monday just before the election, the odds of conviction are low. Anyone convicted before the law came into effect is eligible for re-sentencing. Prop 64 detailed the act in its filing, and there are several parts to it.
One is the decriminalization of marijuana for recreational use for anyone 21 and older — the same age as for alcohol, but older than tobacco. You could have 28.5 grams of marijuana and eight grams of concentrated marijuana personally, and you can consume it at home or at a business with a license for "on-site consumption." Of course, you can't smoke while driving, in public places, or anywhere that smoking tobacco is illegal. But the proposition allows you to grow six plants in your home, as long as they are out of the public view.
The other part of the law has to do with taxes. The ultimate goal is to bring the marijuana market into the legal world. Therefore the law establishes a tax on both the growing and the sale of pot. By ounce, $9.25 for flowers and $2.75 for leaves assessed to the growers — adjusted for inflation beginning in 2010. Then the retail purchases would be assessed at 15 percent of the price. Local jurisdictions could raise it higher. The state agency in charge of this, the Bureau of Marijuana Control would issue licenses and regulate, starting in 2018. Sale without a license would still be illegal and punishable by up to six months and prison or a $500 fine.
Prop 64 in California is one of five statewide votes to legalize marijuana use this year. Nevada, Arizona, Maine, and Massachusetts also voted on legalization for recreational use while four other states, Florida, Arkansas, North Dakota, and Montana had ballot measures to legalize medical marijuana instead. With the passing in California and Massachusetts (It's too early to call at the time of writing, but Maine and Nevada are leaning towards recreational marijuana approval, according to The New York Times), if you're a pot aficionado and have also wanted to start a small business, now is your time.