FRANCISCO – Recreational use of marijuana is now legal
in the state of California, but the new laws are taking effect under
a haze of confusion.
was passed on Nov. 8. The new legislation legalizes recreational
use of marijuana for adults 21 years or older, as long as they only
use the drug in a private residence or at a business that has a
license for on-site marijuana consumption.
residents are now allowed to own up to 28.5 grams of marijuana and 8 grams of concentrated marijuana. In addition an individual is
permitted to grow up to six marijuana plants within a private home as
long as the area is locked and not visible from a public place. In January 2018
businesses will be able to purchase licenses to sell recreational
marijuana while driving a vehicle, anywhere smoking tobacco is
banned, and in all public places is still illegal. Possession of
marijuana on the grounds of a school, day care center, or youth
center while children are present is also illegal.
This change to
the law means that many existing marijuana-related crimes no longer
exist and many existing sentences have been drastically reduced or
have one client who was facing six years in jail, but now he is only
looking at six months,”
Allison Margolin, partner at Margolin
& Lawrence, told The
Northern California Record.
In addition, many
individuals dealing with marijuana-related charges will not even have
to go court.
“If you are not a person who deals with courts every
day, it's hard to understand how stressful court is for people,”
has been helping her clients see through
the confusing haze of new rules created by the passage of Proposition
64. On Dec. 3, she hosted a special clinic to give California
residents a chance to ask questions about the new legal environment
created by the new rules. She said people asked about previous convictions being overturned.
“But they also had
questions about how new tax rules will apply to vendors and how they
can acquire licenses,” she said.
continued saying that one of the biggest challenges for marijuana
vendors is working through the new complicated licensing rules that
require vendors to acquire permission from both state and local
governments. According to Margolin, the most common licenses
aggressively restrict the amount of space that vendors can use.
many new sellers, the space requirements mean they will not be able to
grow and sell enough marijuana to make their business viable,”
addition, her clients are also concerned about how the United States
federal government will respond to the new law. Under federal rules,
the sale and use of marijuana is still illegal. Margolin said there
are reasons for users and vendors to be optimistic.
decision by the United States Supreme Court to dismiss Nebraska and
Oklahoma v. Colorado is a positive sign for how federal courts will
treat citizens in states with legalized marijuana, Margolin said. “I
am also hoping the state of California will intervene on its
those with further questions, Margolin is planning a second legal
clinic for the Oakland area in early January.