Frequently Asked Questions About Legalized Marijuana Laws in California

Recreational marijuana is now legal in the state of California. Before you go out and celebrate it is important to understand what “legalized weed” really means. What behaviors are now acceptable in California? Which conduct is still prohibited under the law? The criminal defense attorneys at the Los Angeles Criminal Law Center have answered a few frequently asked questions about the recent legalization of marijuana in California.

Where can I buy marijuana in California?

Under the new law, it is legal to purchase limited amounts of marijuana and marijuana concentrates from licensed retailers. These retailers must petition the state for a special license. One it is provided, the merchants must comply with certain rules and regulations. Violating the terms of the license will open that merchant up to criminal penalties, civil sanctions, and the loss of that license. According to the Bureau of Cannabis Control, nearly 90 licenses have been distributed in the state of California.

Purchasing marijuana from someone other than a licensed retailer could be problematic. This is especially true if you purchase more than a person is legally permitted to possess at one time. Possession of a large quantity of the drug will likely result in criminal charges for possession with the intent to distribute. It is important to note, however, that it is not a crime for one person to gift small amounts of marijuana to others.

Is marijuana legal everywhere in California?

No! Before you light up it is important to check out your local laws. Some counties and towns in California have passed legislation to ban the sale and cultivation of marijuana, despite the popularity of Proposition 64. 

Is it okay to use marijuana in public?

No. Smoking or consuming marijuana in any way is prohibited in public. This includes public areas that are specifically designated for smoking cigarettes. Given the controversial nature of the drug, California law requires marijuana to be consumed in private. Violations of this provision will result in a fine of at least $100. It is safe to say that these penalties will be aggravated when the drug is consumed on or near school grounds, on government property, or near daycare centers.

Can I use marijuana in the car?

No. Marijuana is being regulated in a manner that is very similar to alcohol. It is against the law to consume marijuana – in any form – while you are in a motor vehicle. This includes the driver and any passengers in the car. If you consuming marijuana in a motor vehicle while it is operational, that could lead to criminal charges for driving under the influence. Other penalties that can be imposed for consuming marijuana in a car will be determined on the local level.

Can I grow marijuana under the new law?

Yes and no. Cultivating marijuana plants is no longer a crime in California, as long as you have no more than 6 plants. When you grow more than 6 plants you may face criminal charges.

How much marijuana can I possess at one time?

Under the new law, California residents who are over the age of 21 can legally possess up to 28.5 grams of marijuana at one time.

Can I buy marijuana at any time of the day?

No. Marijuana cannot legally be sold between the hours of 10 PM and 6 AM.

Questions? Call the Los Angeles Criminal Law Center

It is important to understand that even though marijuana is legal in California there are still limits on how, when, and where you can buy and use the drug. It is also important to remember that buying, selling, growing, and possessing marijuana are still classified as crimes at the federal level. Breaking the new law could result in significant fines and, in some cases, criminal charges. Federal charges could also lead to significant time behind bars.

If you have any questions about the changes in the law, or if you are facing criminal charges for marijuana-related crimes, do not hesitate to call the Los Angeles Criminal Law Center for help. We offer a free consultation to new clients and would be happy to answer any questions you may have. For immediate assistance, see our guide on the questions to ask when hiring a criminal lawyer.

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