Keeping it Real: What You Can and Can’t Do Since Recreational Pot is Now Legal in Cali

*A lot of folks have been waiting for Prop 64 ( the Adult Use of Marijuana Act) to pass…for a long time, here in California. And on January 1, 2018, it did. Recreational marijuana is now legal. People were lined up for hours before the 6 a.m. opening of an Oakland dispensary, and once inside, cash registers were clicking and clanging like crazy with folks spending hundreds of dollars on weed. One customer even walked out with $1,000 worth in a large grocery bag, according to the New York Times. But real talk, the very last thing gleeful marijuana users should do is lose their damn mind. There are still a lot of gray areas in the crevices of this new law.

‘Old heads’ probably won’t turn too much; after all, they’ve been doing their thing for quite some time now and the new laws won’t make much of a difference to them. But for those we suddenly see riding on the freeway, with clouds of smoke sifting out of the driver’s side window, you might want to slow your roll buddy.

Cops have their eyes peeled for folks just like you. Those in their own world; weaving in and out of traffic without signaling. The unofficial race car drivers. Yes, you’ll soon see just how invincible you’re not.

According to the New York Times…

We’d better watch out. Opponents of the new law say California may see an increase in traffic deaths. This is what happened in Colorado since stores in that state began selling recreational cannabis four years ago.

Traffic deaths involving drivers who tested positive for marijuana more than doubled from 2013 to 2016, according to a study published by a federal government agency in October. The report also noted a 35 percent increase in emergency room visits related to marijuana.

So what does this new recreational marijuana law actually mean? What does it allow potheads to do?

?This is a whole new world opening up,? said Diana Gladden, 48, told the New York Times. She was at the dispensary nice and early buying marijuana for herself and her aging parents. ?My mother, a very strict Southern Baptist, now thinks it?s O.K. because it?s legal.?

What you CAN do now is  possess up to one ounce of weed or eight grams of concentrated cannabis in public and grow up to six plants per residence if you’re over 21 years of age.

But You can’t smoke marijuana in your car. Its the same as drinking and driving: Don’t do it! It can land you in jail and your license can be revoked.

Add to this, you’ll be in deep do-do if any of the following is found in your car: a joint, vape pin, edibles or open containers of weed can get you locked up!

Only a very few shops are licensed to sell you recreational weed. Some of those places are only in San DiegoSan Jose, and Oakland as of January 1.


But thanks to the  San Francisco Chronicle, who has spent months building a local law lookup tool, your research is a bit easier. Just know that while the tool is updated regularly, the best way to look up your area?s rules is on your city or county?s website.

And now for the “pink elephant” in the room: How will the new law affect those currently incarcerated for marijuana related offenses. Will they get out now?

Not immediately, but, yes?many of them could be released earlier than their original dates. Prop. 64 created a process through which anyone incarcerated or serving a term on probation, parole, or community supervision for a weed-related offense can petition a judge to have their sentence reduced if the previous conduct now classifies as a lesser offense. 

The law requires judges to re-sentence any such applicant, except in instances where it is determined that the applicant might commit a serious, violent felony upon release.

See examples of this scenario and other answers to weed-related questions at Mother Jones here.


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