California’s Recreational Marijuana Law

  • richardmosslaw
  • August 12, 2018


    In November 2016, Californians voted in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana in the state. The AUMA or Adult Use of Marijuana Act was finally implemented in December, 2017. The new law allows commercial production, distribution and sale of cannabis to adults and for adult use. Anyone aged twenty one or above can possess and privately use marijuana. One may even give away cannabis but no more than one ounce. Citizens can grow marijuana or cannabis in their residences or on their properties but a maximum of six plants at a time. Only those licensed by the state can sell marijuana in their stores. The license is regulated in accordance with the statutes of Medical and Adult Use of Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act or MAUCRSA.


    The new law does not change the old medical marijuana law of 1996 that permitted use of cannabis for patients of all ages under supervision and upon recommendation of a physician. The licensing and regulation of all retail sales including distribution are under the purview of the Bureau of Cannabis Control, which is within the ambit of the Department of Consumer Affairs. The Department of Food and Agriculture will regulate cultivation. The Department of Public Health will oversee manufacturing. In addition to the state law, there can be local city or county laws that may complement the legislation or may even illegalize certain acts of possessing, selling, distributing and consuming recreational marijuana.


    Adults can possess and process, purchase and transport, obtain and give away recreational marijuana to other adults older than twenty one but limited to eight grams. Anything more than an ounce of marijuana in personal possession must be kept locked in a residential property, away from public access. Reasonable restrictions on sale, distribution and cultivation may be enforced by the state or local government from time to time but it would not forbid cultivation, consumption or sale entirely.


    California’s recreational marijuana law still does not authorize anyone to smoke, ingest or vaporize cannabis in public places. No one should smoke cannabis in a designated non smoking zone, within a thousand feet of schools and youth centers, daycare centers or where children are present. Commuters cannot consume marijuana while riding or driving, be it a car, boat or plane. Commercial vehicles with a special license can allow onboard marijuana consumption, provided there are no children aboard.


    California’s recreational marijuana law does not revoke or repeal the rights of companies or employers to conduct drug tests at their workplaces. They can always forbid use of marijuana by employees, at work or before and after work on the premises. Landlords or property owners can also prohibit the use of marijuana on their premises. State or local government agencies can have their own policies pertaining to recreational use of marijuana. Recreational marijuana should not be confused with medical marijuana. The weight limits mentioned above pertain to concentrated cannabis and not derivatives or blends. Unlicensed people cannot engage in commercial transactions of marijuana. They can only gift it to others.


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