Understanding Your Rights Surrounding Marijuana

marijuana laws and understanding your rights surrounding marijuanaOn January 1, 2018, recreational marijuana use became legal in the State of California.  Prior to this date, the use of marijuana for medical purposes had been legal since 1996, as it was decriminalized at this time to be in possession of under 28.5 grams of marijuana.  In 2016, California voters passed Proposition 64, or the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, which then came into effect in January of 2018.

The Adult Use of Marijuana Act (Proposition 64)

The passing of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act now allows adults aged 21 and older to purchase, consume, and possess marijuana up to an amount of 28.5 grams.  The use of the substance may legally occur within a person’s own private residence, or it may be used in an establishment that has been licensed for consumption of marijuana.

After the general election, most of the criminal sanctions were lifted.  However, the licensing process took more time and it was not until January of 2018 that licenses for businesses to legally produce and sell marijuana for recreational use actually began.  Additionally, the state implemented additional taxes related to selling and growing marijuana.

Laws Regarding Marijuana Possession the State of California

Adults aged 21 or older are legally able to have 28.5 grams of marijuana in their possession.  They may also possess up to eight grams of concentrated marijuana.  For individuals under age 21, possession in these amounts constitutes an infraction.

For anyone 18 or older caught in possession of more than 28.5 grams of marijuana, or more than 8 grams of concentrated marijuana may face penalties that include a fine of up to $500 or imprisonment for up to six months in county jail.

Laws Regarding Marijuana Sales in the State of California

If an individual who does not have a license to sell marijuana is caught doing so, they may be charged with a misdemeanor.  If convicted, that person may face a fine of up to $500 and also faces a penalty of serving up to six months in county jail.

If a person is caught engaging in the commercial sale of marijuana without the proper license to do so, that person will be subject to further civil penalties, which may include a fine of up to three times the amount of the fee for the license for each violation.  Each day the individual was engaging in the commercial sale of marijuana without a license will count as a separate drug violation.

Other Limitations Under California Law Regarding the Use of Marijuana

Even if an individual is over the age of 21, there are certain limitations on the use of marijuana for recreational purposes.  It continues to be illegal to smoke or ingest marijuana in public (unless it is specifically in accordance with §26200 of the Business & Professions Code of California).  Additionally, it is also still illegal to smoke or ingest marijuana while in the process of operating a motor vehicle, and also to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of marijuana.  As it is with alcohol, it is also illegal to possess an open container of marijuana while either riding as a passenger in or operating a motor vehicle.

Federal Marijuana Laws – Do They Apply in the State of California?

While the State of California made recreational and medical use of marijuana legal, it is still illegal to possess or consume marijuana under federal law, even for medical use.  In 2005, the United States Supreme Court ruled that federal agencies could prosecute individuals for possession of marijuana or use of marijuana, even if it is legal under the law of the state.  However, while someone could potentially be prosecuted under federal law, in most cases, the United States Department of Justice declines to prosecute marijuana users and business if they are properly following their state and local marijuana-related laws.

If you are facing charges related to either the sale or consumption of marijuana in the State of California, it is important to speak with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney.  Call California criminal defense attorney Johann Hall today for a consultation to discuss the facts of your arrest and charges.

Though many marijuana-related offenses are considered misdemeanors, it is still a good idea to consult with and hire an attorney to ensure that all applicable defenses are properly explored in your case, giving you the best chance for success to get your charges dismissed or end up with lesser penalties.  Contact attorney Johann Hall at (707) 360-8717 or through our online contact form right away to get started on the representation of your marijuana-related case.