California has legalized medical marijuana use and cultivation under very unique circumstances, and it has even gone as far as decriminalizing the possession of recreational marijuana in scant amounts. While many may see this leniency as an open invitation to use the drug, there are still numerous ways to violate the law. And for every violation, the penalties can be excessive. If you have a medical marijuana card as prescribed by an approved doctor, or if you are interested in using trace amounts for your own personal recreation, there are a handful of rights, laws, and rules you should know about first.
Important, obscure, and critical laws to know include:
- Decriminalization: In California, a legal adult may possess 28 grams, or 0.06 pounds, of marijuana without being labeled as a criminal. Decriminalizationdoes not mean it is legal. If you have less than 28 grams of marijuana on your person, you can be issued a citation and pay around $500 in fees and fines, but you will not face jail time or have a mark on your criminal record added. It will be a crime, however, to have trace amounts of marijuana with the intent to sell or distribute it to others.
- Employment hiring: Medical marijuana cards and prescriptions may require people to use marijuana or cannabis in varying forms throughout the day to treat their illnesses and conditions. Even though the person is not breaking the law and has a prescription, an employer can choose not to hire them without immediate legal backlash. Marijuana use is known to alter the user’s mind in one way or another, and so it is deemed unsafe or unprofessional in the workplace, akin to alcohol use.
- Employment firing: Anyone who uses a drug to treat a disability is protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), including medical marijuana users. If your employer wants to fire you for your drug use, you may be able to cry foul and cite the ADA in your defense, and potential lawsuit. The ADA also extends coverage to other aspects of day-to-day life, such as tenancy.
- Driving: Getting behind the wheel of an automobile while under the influence of any substance, legal or not, that alters your mind and ability to focus is prohibited in California. Just as you would not be permitted to take nighttime cold medicine and try to drive home, you are not allowed to use legal marijuana and start your car. You should also not store your marijuana in your vehicle, as this constitutes not a decriminalized infraction but a separate possession crime, which is a misdemeanor.
If you have more questions about legal marijuana use in California, contact Blumenthal & Moore today. Our Riverside drug crimes attorneys would be happy to sit down with you during a free initial consultation and explain your rights in more detail. We can also provide unwavering criminal defense services for those who have been arrested and charged with a drug crime. Just dial 951.682.5110 to connect with our team.