As of January 1st, 2018, California became the most populous U.S. state to legalize recreational cannabis sales. The Golden State is not just transitioning from a medical marijuana-only state to a fully rec-legal one, however; it is also transitioning from a largely unregulated market to a tightly controlled regime. This means that there are now numerous laws, rules, and regulations governing exactly where and how you can use and buy pot.
For Californians who are used to the “wild west” days of the unregulated medical cannabis market, or for tourists looking to legally purchase marijuana for the first time, the rules can be confusing. But there's no need to spend hours Googling the guidelines — MERRY JANE has prepared a concise list of do's and don'ts that will you have you sparking up on the right side of the law in no time.
Full transcript below:
As of 6am on January 1st, any adult in California is legally able to purchase weed for recreational use. While this offers stoners freedoms that haven't been seen since the 1920s, there are still many rules and regulations on how and where you can buy and smoke pot that you will need to keep in mind.
Here's a quick breakdown of what you can and can't do:
DO - Buy cannabis products at a licensed retail store. If you're 21 or older, you can walk into any licensed establishment and shop to your heart's content. Keep in mind that you are allowed to personally possess up to 28.5 grams of flower and 8 grams of concentrates at a time.
DON'T – Expect to find a retail store in your neighborhood that's open on January 1st. Many towns have opted out of allowing recreational canna-businesses in their areas, and some cities have delayed their local start date for retail sales - so you may need to take a road trip to find some legal weed.
DO – Smoke as much weed as you like in private. Proposition 64 authorizes local governments to license microbusinesses that will allow adults to purchase and cannabis onsite, but it will take time for these to become operational. In the meantime, enjoy your stash at home or at your friends' house.
DON'T – Smoke pot in public. Using cannabis in public – including sidewalks, parks, restaurants, and beaches - is still illegal throughout the state, and offenders can be fined $100. If you are smoking pot in a place where cigarette smoking is also illegal, you can be fined up to $250. If you're a tourist, remember that many hotels also prohibit smoking up.
DO – Grow your own marijuana. Adult California residents are legally allowed to grow up to 6 plants at home. Some local governments will be able to prohibit outdoor cultivation of marijuana, so check with your city government before planting some weed in your front yard. But even if your community prohibits outdoor grows, the law still gives you the right to grow your plants indoors.
DON'T – Sell pot to anyone, especially minors. The state has mandated that all retail sales be handled through licensed stores in order to put an end to black market sales and keep weed out of the hands of minors. You can, however, gift another adult 1 ounce of flower or 8 grams of concentrate.
DO - Check your employer's drug policy. Because marijuana is still a Schedule I drug prohibited by the federal government, employers maintain the right to drug test employees and to fire anyone that tests positive for marijuana.
DON'T – Drive under the influence or smoke pot in your car. Police will be conducting sobriety tests and enforcing marijuana-impaired driving as strictly as they enforce drunk driving laws. Also, if cops find an “open container” of weed – which can mean anything from an open baggie to a loaded vape pen to an unwrapped edible – you can be fined $100.
DO - Get your criminal record expunged. If you have been previously arrested for possession or cultivation of small quantities of cannabis, you can petition the court to have this black mark removed from your records permanently.
DON'T – Smuggle or take your weed out of state. It might be tempting to mail some edibles to your cousin in Alabama or to bring a secret stash with you on your holiday trip, but these ideas are dangerous and illegal. Not only do you risk putting yourself in hot water with the law, bringing or sending pot to a state where it's illegal can alert federal authorities, possibly inspiring them to crack down on legal cannabis in California.
DO – Enjoy yourself!