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Criminal Defense From A Former Prosecutor

How marijuana possession is controlled under California's Prop 64

Many California residents who voted Proposition 64 (Prop 64) into law in November of 2016 did so with the expectation that that marijuana would become largely deregulated much like alcohol and cigarettes are. Despite their hopes, the final legislation, crafted in part by the Drug Policy Alliance, spans 60 pages. Within those, it covers when it's appropriate to consume marijuana and not.

Under the Prop 64, it's not possible for individuals to purchase pot at dispensaries unless they have a medical marijuana prescription. However, for those who are 21 and over, they are allowed to use, share and possess the one-time illicit drug in select locations without fear of being carted off to jail.

As far as where the drug can be consumed, the way the law is currently written disallows the consumption of the drug in public spaces, and particularly where alcohol or cigarettes are being sold. At this point, to remain compliant with the law, California residents are most apt to avoid prosecution if they simply retreat to their homes to use the drug.

Individuals who decide to use this drug before operating a vehicle risk being arrested for driving under the influence (DUI). Additionally, those who take their drug onto trains, planes, or cruise ships, or some other regulated mode of transportation risk arrest because marijuana is still illegal under federal laws.

Additionally, with the passing of Prop 64, Californians can now legally grow marijuana in their homes. To remain compliant with the law, a household can't have any more than six plants and they have to demonstrate they're taking measures to keep them secure in a fully enclosed space.

It's important to keep in mind, though, that it's still illegal to buy a marijuana plant off of someone. While someone can share or give their plant to you, it's unlawful to exchange money for it.

There are restrictions as to how much of the drug you can carry around with you to remain legal as well. Currently, adults are limited to carrying a bud that weights one ounce or less. If they carry concentrate, then they're restricted to just eight ounces.

If you've been arrested for possession of marijuana and you're unsure whether your actions are illegal under Proposition 64, then a Van Nuys criminal defense attorney can provide guidance in your legal matter.

Source: Time, "What to know about marijuana legalization in California," Katie Steinmetz, accessed Aug. 18, 2017

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