California Passes Recreational Marijuana Bill Prop 64
California voters passed the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, also known as Proposition 64, Tuesday, making it legal to smoke marijuana recreationally in the state, according to the Associated Press. Californians may now grow and possess pot, but Los Angeles Times reports they won’t be able to purchase it legally until dispensaries are properly licensed. The state has until January 1st, 2018 to begin issuing licenses. The Times estimates it may take up to a year for lawmakers to set up the rules necessary to regulate the marijuana industry.
The newly passed proposition allows adults 21 and older to use marijuana however they’d like in their own homes and in licensed businesses, according to Ballotpedia. Citizens may possess up to 28.5 grams of marijuana and grow up to six plants at their private home, as long as they’re locked and not visible to the public. It also allows the state to tax the cultivation and sale of pot; cities and counties may also impose their own taxes. Revenue from the taxes will go to drug research, youth programs and other community resources related to regulating the marijuana industry.
Much like laws regulating alcohol, it is still illegal for Californians to drive under the influence of marijuana. Users may also not smoke in public places or wherever smoking tobacco is illegal. In addition, they cannot possess it on school grounds, daycare centers or youth centers where children are present.
If people under the age of 18 are found to be using marijuana, they will have to attend drug education and counseling programs and perform community service. People who sell pot without a license face up to six months in jail and up to a $500 fine. People who smoke weed in public face up to a $100 fine, and people who are caught smoking in public places or near a school face up to a $250 fine.
People currently serving time for weed-related offenses covered under the law are now eligible for re-sentencing.
Medical marijuana has been legal in California since 1996, though it is still illegal at the federal level. For decades, the DEA has classified marijuana as a “Schedule I” substance, which it defines as “drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse”; other Schedule I drugs include ecstasy and heroin. While a number of states have allowed medical marijuana use – and Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska have passed laws allowing recreational use – the Department of Justice has not been exercising its right to prosecute people using the drug.
Additionally, Massachusetts passed a measure legalizing marijuana for recreational and commercial use, according to MassLive.com. The drug will now be regulated by a Cannabis Control Commission. Voters approved the measure two to one, though the website speculates it will be amended, as government leaders felt the proposed amount of tax on marijuana was too low.
This election could determine the future of pot. Watch here.