California Votes for Progress: Understanding Prop 64
The election has finally come to an end and what an ending it was.
Though the results were not what many of us expected or hoped for, I am relieved to see that California continued to show the rest of this country that we are a progressive, forward-thinking state that is passionate about taking the lead on important issues.
We examine both the micro and macro impacts and implications. We do our best to make decisions that will ultimately help the individual and the population as a whole. Admittedly, we don’t always get it right the first time, but we continue to strive to be the most compassionate, inclusive and just state in this great union. On November 8th California chose progress over fear up and down the ballot. We took a huge step toward dissolving the stigma that has shrouded cannabis for more than a decade with the passage of the Adult-Use of Marijuana Act (Prop 64). We discussed Prop 64 –– previously and why it has the potential to make a significant impact, not only on California, but for the remainder of the United States and perhaps around the world. The legalization of adult-use cannabis in a state as large and influential as ours is crucial to ending prohibition and I am proud to be a part of driving this change.
As with most laws, Prop 64 is not without its confusing nuances. To help people better understand the law, I have included below a few brief explanations of the key parameters established by the Act. For a complete guide on the regulations, please visit here.
- Limitations for cannabis possession. Effective immediately, if you’re 21 or older, you can possess an ounce of cannabis and grow up to six plants in your home. Prop 64 also states that law enforcement officers can no longer search you or your home based off of factors like smell or a perceived state of being. However, if you are under age or it is discovered that you are over the allotted number of plants, you are breaking the law and therefore subject to any searches officers may deem necessary.
- Smoking cannabis in public is prohibited. Smoking cannabis in public is still against the law, as is driving while smoking. This will be enforced much like smoking in a non-smoking area or driving while under the influence. However, it is still unclear how law enforcement will determine if someone is under the influence of cannabis since THC remains in your system for days and weeks after use. This is an issue that the government is working to resolve.
- Recreational cannabis will not be available for purchase until 2018. Only those with a California medicinal cannabis card will be permitted to legally purchase cannabis from dispensaries through 2017. Adult-use cannabis will not be available in dispensaries until 2018 and a dispensary’s ability to sell adult-use cannabis is dependent upon securing a specific license. Dispensaries will need to file the necessary paperwork to apply for an adult-use license over the next year and the government will begin issuing licenses on January 1, 2018 (at the earliest).
Another issue that is important to address is that many of those opposed to Prop 64 expressed concerns regarding how legalization of adult-use cannabis may impact children. Parents and caregivers can rest assured that children will not be targeted by cannabis advertisements and strict consequences have been outlined for those minors caught with cannabis. Prop 64 clearly prohibits television commercials and billboards promoting cannabis products, much like tobacco. Products containing cannabis, including edibles, will not be packaged in a way that would appeal to children – i.e. candy or treats. Finally, if a minor is convicted of cannabis use or possession, he or she will be required to attend drug education or a counseling program and complete community service.
I firmly believe that Prop 64’s passage will have a positive impact on both our state and our nation. California has always led by example for the rest of this great country and I know that we will continue to do so with this historic event. If you have any uncertainties regarding Prop 64, please feel free to ask me at @ConstanceCAOils and I would be happy to provide insight.