Prop. 64: What to Know Now That Marijuana is Legal in California

California has joined a growing trend across the country by legalizing the recreational use of marijuana and hemp. 

By passing Proposition 64, Californians over 21 years of age can now legally smoke marijuana privately, and can have up to 28.5 grams of marijuana and up to 8 grams of concentrated marijuana, such as hash, in their possession, according to the Official Voter Information Guide for the proposition

People 21-years-old and over can also grow up to six marijuana plants at a private home, according to the voter guide. Additionally, people are allowed to give marijuana to others as long as the amounts given fit the guidelines of possession described above, and as long as the person receiving the drug is at least 21-years-old.

It is still illegal to smoke weed while driving a car, in a public place, or in any location where smoking tobacco is not allowed, the guide states. "Possession of marijuana on the grounds of a school, day care center, or youth center while children are present," is also illegal.

Aside from recreational use, the measure will also establish packaging, labeling, advertising and marketing standards and restrictions for marijuana products, including prohibiting marketing and advertising marijuana to minors.

Although Californians can legally smoke weed Wednesday, people who do not have a medical marijuana card may not be able to legally purchase weed from dispensaries until another part of Proposition 64 goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2018. 

The state has until that date to set up a system for dispensaries to apply for licenses, which will allow them to legally sell marijuana for recreational use. 

The measure will impose a state excise tax on retail sales of marijuana equal to 15 percent of the sales price and state cultivation taxes on marijuana of $9.25 per ounce of flowers and $2.75 per ounce of leaves.

The initiative allows for local regulation and taxation of marijuana and exempts medical marijuana from some taxation.

Proposition 64 also authorizes re-sentencing and destruction of records for prior marijuana convictions.

The passage of the initiative will in net reduced costs ranging from tens of millions of dollars to potentially exceeding $100 million annually to state and local governments related to enforcing certain marijuana-related offenses, handling the related criminal cases in the court system and incarcerating and supervising certain marijuana offenders, according to an analysis conducted by the Legislative Analyst's Office and Department of Finance.

The analysis also found passage will result in net additional state and local tax revenues potentially ranging from the high hundreds of millions of dollars to more than $1 billion annually related to the production and sale of marijuana. Most of these funds will be required to be spent for specific purposes such as substance use disorder education, prevention and treatment.

Hemp is a variety of the cannabis plant that is grown specifically for the industrial uses of its products. It can be refined into a variety of commercial items including paper, textiles, clothing, biodegradable plastics, paint, insulation, biofuel, food and animal feed.

Opponents -- including Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. -- argued that legalizing marijuana will lead to a sharp increase highway fatalities and impaired driving, noting there is no current standard for determining if a driver is "impaired" by marijuana. They also argued the measure would permit marijuana farms near schools and public parks and will lead to a proliferation of "pot shops," particularly in inner-city communities.

Detractors also contended the measure would allow prime-time television advertisements for marijuana, exposing children to the drug. Backers of the measure flatly deny that the proposition includes any such provision and includes strict requirements to prevent marketing or sale of marijuana to children.

Jessica Rice and Jonathan Gonzalez contributed to this report. 

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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