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Understanding Marijuana Legalization in California

Claudia Ortiz-ortiz


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California voters approved Prop. 64, legalizing the adult use of marijuana during the November 2016 election. This law applies to adults 21 and over. Here’s what you need to know about marijuana legalization.

How the Law Affects Medical Users

Medical marijuana patients will keep their existing rights given under Prop. 215 of being able to possess and cultivate as much marijuana as they need for their personal medical use. They still must have a doctor’s recommendation. It’s recommended that medical marijuana patients obtain a statement medical marijuana ID card to avoid paying state sales tax on their marijuana purchases.

Limit on Amount Possessed

Prop. 64 limits the maximum amount of marijuana that an adult user may possess, obtain, transport or give away to other adults to one ounce. A maximum of six plants can be cultivated per home, and the user can keep all the marijuana that is produced from the six plants. Any amount over the legal possession limit of one ounce and plants must be kept in a locked area in the residence out of public view. Marijuana plants cannot be grown outdoors unless they are grown in a secure and fully enclosed structure.

Where Marijuana Can Be Used

Marijuana cannot be consumed in public places, and those who are caught doing so will be required to pay a fine of $100 per infraction. This drug also cannot be smoked or vaporized in non-smoking areas. Additionally, marijuana cannot be smoked within 1,000 feet of daycare centers, schools or youth centers when children are present. It can only be used in a private residence; otherwise, the user can be fined $250.

Driving and Marijuana Still Do Not Mix

Laws regarding driving under the influence still apply to using marijuana. You can lose your driver’s license for driving under the influence.

Marijuana Use and the Workplace

While marijuana legalization allows individuals to use marijuana, employers maintain the right to prohibit its use by their employees. If your employer does not allow marijuana use and you are caught using or have a positive drug screen, you could possibly lose your job.


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