Anyone who believes that voters have any say over marijuana laws in California should give it another thought. Despite deciding to approve recreational weed in November last year, lawmakers are still drafting a regulatory framework for it. According to the Marijuana Policy Project, Gov. Jerry Brown is merging Proposition 64 with currently existing, Legislature-approved medical marijuana laws.
The Adult Use of Marijuana Act
Proposition 64, or the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, allows any person older than 21-years of age to use cannabis in California for recreational purposes. Back in November 2016, when voters approved it, there were plans to regulate, tax, and control weed similarly to alcohol. According to the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation, the goal is a single, regulatory system to govern all marijuana in California.
Marijuana Laws in California
Buried in his 2017-2018 budget, the over 100-page bill that Gov. Brown proposes tackles current regulatory issues and creates a legal environment for extensive oversight and control of both medical and recreational cannabis in California. It touches on issues such as delivery rules, permits for special events, legal pot festivals, and more. What does this mean for you? Can you have weed in your car?
Every cannabis consumer needs a complete guide to California’s latest marijuana laws:
Carrying Marijuana in Your Car
As with alcohol laws, you can face a $100 infraction if caught with an open container of weed in your car while driving. Having an open cannabis product in the car with you is illegal, including any previously opened products with broken seals. Put your marijuana in the trunk and you will not get into trouble.
The only exemption to this rule is for medical patients. They may drive with a previously opened container of weed, but they may not use it or have it open while they are behind the wheel.
Testing Cannabis Intake
Currently, police do not have a specific method for testing marijuana impairment in California. If law enforcement pulls you over, you will have to pass a field sobriety test and blow a breathalyzer. If there is no alcohol in your system and police suspect marijuana, you may need to submit to a blood test.
Home delivery has become the latest cannabis trend. More medical patients order weed online than ever before and recreational users will enjoy the same benefits. Gov. Brown’s bill will require licenses to deliver, and there is still a chance that some counties will ban it in their jurisdictions, if they so desire.
Medical Sales Tax
Laws will not change for existing medical patients. Armed with their doctor’s notes, they can continue purchasing weed. However, there will be a sales tax for those without Medical Marijuana Cards. To avoid this expense, apply for your California Medical Marijuana I.D. Card.
Insurance companies will not cover medical marijuana costs. Unlike prescription medications, there are no liability laws in place to make private or federal insurance providers reimburse medical marijuana claims. You will have to pay for it with your own money.
Recreational and Medical Pot Shops
Under Gov. Brown’s proposed bill, retail stores will be able to sell both recreational and medical weed under the same roof. However, they will still be able to sell one or the either exclusively if they wish to, as the bill will not force them to supply both medical and recreational consumers.
All medical marijuana must go to a licensed company for pesticide and chemical testing. Currently, the law allows minimum traces of some residual solvents and chemicals, but this bill forces testing for 66 microbiological agents and pesticides, including E. coli, salmonella, heavy metals, mycotoxins, and more.
Employer Drug Testing
Under the federal government, marijuana is a Schedule 1 drug, listed up there with cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, and even LSD. Until weed becomes legal at the federal level, Californian employers retain the right to insist on drug-free staff and working environments. Employers may fire those using weed at will.
Public Use of Cannabis
Under Proposition 64, it is illegal to eat, smoke, or otherwise consume weed in public. The new bill does not change this, and it bans retailers from allowing it in public spaces too. However, local jurisdictions have the right to legalize weed use in retail outlets, provided it remains out of public view.
Recreational Pot Taxes
California will demand sales tax on all cannabis products sold recreationally. Consumers will need to pay around 10 percent extra for sales tax at checkout. Those with a state Medical Marijuana Card are able to avoid paying these charges, but because of other marijuana taxes, prices may rise for clients, too.
Cultivators must pay taxes. Under Proposition 64, there is a 15 percent tax on all retail sales of marijuana, whether medical or not. This expense will likely affect consumer prices significantly, and local jurisdictions retain the right to add additional taxes of their own.
Purchase and Cultivation Restrictions
Any adult in California, aged 21-years or older, may possess eight grams of concentrated marijuana or 28.5 grams of dried flowers on their persons. Individuals may cultivate six plants inside their homes, but they must be invisible to anyone passing the property and locked in a discreet area. Medical patients must abide by the same rules, except where a doctor recommends more for a patient’s treatment.
As for local counties and cities, they may ban cultivation of marijuana outdoors. However, it is legal for adults to cultivate indoors and jurisdictions may not prohibit it. The law makes it clear that individuals can grow cannabis inside their homes, even if they may not grow it in their backyards.
Marijuana laws in California are in flux and continually changing. Weed is legal for every adult in the state, but because regulatory guidelines are still under creation, it is wise to be as discreet as possible about the plants in your house and the weed on your person. Avoid consuming in public spaces. Those who abide by the state’s rules and regulations will not find themselves in trouble with the law.
Author Bio – John Levy is a blogger for Pot Valet, a leading company to provide marijuana delivery in California. John is a cannabis enthusiast with 5 years of experience in the writing about the rules, laws and regulations of cannabis industry. You can follow his company Pot Valet on Google+ and Facebook.