In November, state voters approved Prop. 64 – the Adult Use of Marijuana Act – by a margin of 57 percent to 43 percent. Now, adults in California age 21 or older can legally use, possess, and cultivate marijuana without the threat of criminal consequences under state law (although not under federal law). While Prop. 64 will bring changes to the way cannabis is regulated, distributed, and policed statewide, there are some realities that won’t change. Our firm explains what you can expect.
You Still Cannot Smoke and Drive
Although adults may, under state law, possess up to 28.5 grams of marijuana or 8 grams of its concentrates and use the drug in a private setting, it is still illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of cannabis. Adults who choose to use marijuana must do so responsibly. Operating a motor vehicle while high can result in a charge of driving under the influence (DUI) and expose motorists to the same criminal consequences as those related to alcohol, including:
- Jail time
- Expensive fines
- A suspended license
- DUI school
In fact, now that Prop. 64 is law, California law enforcement is expected to crack down on marijuana-impaired drivers. Since there is no scientific consensus regarding how much marijuana is needed in a person’s system for that person to be legally impaired, if you plan to use marijuana, it is imperative that you wait several hours before driving to avoid serious penalties.
You Can’t Buy Pot Yet
Marijuana will not be available for legal purchase until state-issued licenses are distributed, with regulated dispensaries scheduled to be up and running in January 2018 at the earliest. These growers, distributors, and sellers will have to adhere to certain rules, and the unlicensed sale of marijuana will carry criminal consequences.
Until then, you may legally cultivate up to 6 marijuana plants and share marijuana with other adults over age 21 without penalty under state law. Smoking in public will still be illegal, however, with a $100 fine for a first offense. Expect to pay even more if you smoke within a school zone.
You May Be Able to Expunge Past Marijuana-Related Crimes
Another change under Prop. 64 is that many people with past marijuana convictions can now pursue a reduction or dismissal of their charges. Many misdemeanor crimes may now be reduced to infractions, and certain felony offenses may be reduced to misdemeanors. Reduction or expungement of charges can be a significant asset to those who have faced hardship re-entering the workforce because of previous offenses.
Offenses eligible for reduction or expungement include:
- Possession of marijuana or concentrates
- Cultivation of marijuana or concentrates
- Possession of marijuana for sale
- Transportation of marijuana for sale
- Unlawful gifting of marijuana
Contact Blumenthal & Moore Today
If you have been convicted of a marijuana crime or are currently facing prosecution, the Riverside criminal defense attorneys at Blumenthal & Moore can provide the powerful representation you need to maximize your chances of a good outcome. With attorneys who have earned an AV® Preeminent™ Rating by Martindale-Hubbell® and inclusion in Best Lawyers in America® for more than 30 years, your case is sure to be in excellent hands.Call us 24/7 at (951) 682-5110 or schedule a no-charge case review online today to get started.