When Can I Buy Weed In California Legally? It's A Complicated Process

A man rolls a joint during a demonstration demanding the approval of the use of marijuana for medicinal and recreational purposes in front of the Mexican Senate building in Mexico City on September 28, 2016. / AFP / PEDRO PARDO (Photo credit should read PEDRO PARDO/AFP/Getty Images)
Source: PEDRO PARDO/AFP/Getty Images
California just passed a new law that makes it legal for you to buy marijuana in the state. It's already been legal for purchase if you've gotten a recommendation from a doctor and have a medical card, but now it can be used recreationally thanks to the passage of Proposition 64 by California residents. So, when can I buy weed in California now that recreational use of it has been legalized? 

According to the LA Times, you can possess and grow weed immediately after the proposition's official passing, however it could take up to two years for California to issue business retail licenses to non-medical dispensaries. And under the proposition, anyone selling you weed or growing it for you would need a license from the state. So, though you can smoke it immediately, the law surrounding obtaining it is a bit more complicated. 

The new law allows for adults, aged 21 and over to, for recreational purposes, possess, transport, and use up to one ounce of marijuana. It also lets people grow as many as six plants in their homes. It's not a huge shock that Prop. 64 made it through. Going into this election, the LA Times reported that the legislation had almost 60% of the vote according to polls. 
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Right now, nationally, both medical and recreational marijuana are illegal. But under President Obama's jurisdiction, the Department of Justice (DOJ) largely overlooks enforcing the law and doesn't prosecute those using or in possession of the drug, leaving it up to the state to enforce the laws surrounding the substance. California isn't the only state that's gone so far as to allow it — Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington have already made it legal. On top of that, a handful of other states have voted on legalizing it as well. 


With the projected benefits, it makes sense — the economic impact in states that have followed through with the measure are impressive. In places like Colorado, they were been able to rake in $70 million just last year. Now that it's legal in California, the state can tax all pot and put it on the books, likely bringing in more revenue than any other state so far.

But legalization hasn't always gotten across-the-board support. Even though California was the first state to legalize the medical version of the drug, it's had its road blocks. Yes, in 1996, Proposition 215 in California legalized medical marijuana, and the legislation was the first of its kind to pass. But the perception of legalized marijuana has changed dramatically over the years, flip-flopping back and forth. According to a Field Research poll, in 1969, legalization only had 13 percent of the vote. In 2010, though, Proposition 19, the proposed law that would legalize recreational pot, was rejected. Now, the generational divide that attached a strong stigma to weed has dampened, likely contributing to its ultimate passage. 

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