California voters may have approved the use of recreational marijuana but residents cannot walk into a dispensary to purchase it or consume marijuana on the street.
Voters approved Proposition 64, with 56 percent of the vote during Tuesday's election.
In addition to legalizing the use of pot and allowing anyone over the age of 21 to grow up to six plants at home, Prop 64 is expected to generate revenue for California with new taxes on its cultivation and sales. It also reduces many of the criminal penalties for pot-related crimes.
But just because it’s now legal to use, that doesn’t mean it will be easy to get, according to cannabis corporate attorney, Kimberly Simms.
“You’re not going to be able to walk into a medical dispensary today, or tomorrow, or the next day and be able to purchase marijuana in the adult-use capacity. You still have to be a patient,” Simms said.
In 2018, California will be able to license on-site consumption facilities, Simms added.
“Then each city and county will have to figure out how to regulate it from the land use and zoning perspective,” she said.
Adults with medical marijuana cards can share pot with other adults in the privacy of their home. They can also share plants with adults who do not have a card, so they can cultivate marijuana too.
“You can’t just walk down the street with your joint,” Simms said.
Linc Fish, CEO of Outco Labs, a company that manages a medicinal marijuana dispensary in East County, said this is an exciting time for the industry.
It’s possible that a lot of the medicinal stores will eventually be licensed to carry recreational-use marijuana, Fish said.
“As far as actually recreational for our customers, it’s going to be awhile before that kicks in because each city and county has to either pass something or we have to wait for the state licenses in 2018,” said Fish.
Right now, several cities in San Diego have banned the commercial sale and outdoor cultivation of marijuana. Those cities include Poway, Santee, San Marcos, Lemon Grove and National City.
San Diego County officials have also decided not to allow recreational use of marijuana.
Part of the tax structure under Prop 64 allocates the funds to go toward police and fire departments as well as public health issues.
“Should a city or county choose to ban commercial activity then they will not be able to partake in that additional revenue,” Simms said.
She believes cities should enact regulations so they can use the funds to develop a process for recreational marijuana use within their city limits.