On November 8, 2016, historic Proposition 64 was passed legalizing the recreational use of marijuana in the State of California. The law makes it legal for people age 21 and over to possess small amounts of marijuana and concentrated cannabis. It also legalizes the sale of marijuana by individuals with the proper licensure.
For many, the law was a long time coming. The medicinal use of marijuana was legalized in 1996, and possession of up to one ounce of the drug was treated merely as an infraction by law enforcement, provided it was for personal use only. Thus, if someone was found to be in possession of up to one ounce of marijuana, the penalty would be a fine and not jail time.
After the passage of Proposition 64, adults age 21 and over can legally possess and use marijuana without worry of winding up on the wrong side of the law. Prop 64 isn’t a free pass, though, and there are some restrictions. For example, one may only legally possess up to 28.5 grams, or just over an ounce, of marijuana or four grams of concentrated cannabis. Anyone who is found to be in possession of more than this can be charged with a misdemeanor and sentenced to up to six months in county jail and/or a $500 fine.
The legalization of marijuana under Prop 64 only applies to those 21 and over. If anyone under the age of 21 is found to be in possession of marijuana, it’s still an infraction, the penalties for which include drug counseling, community service and/or a fine.
In terms of growing marijuana, an individual may be allowed to grow up to six plants. If they are found to be growing more, they will be charged with a misdemeanor. Before Proposition 64, it would be a felony offense with a harsher penalty. Since it’s now a misdemeanor, the possible penalties include up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.
Lastly, it’s still illegal to sell marijuana under Proposition 64 unless you are licensed to do so. The licenses will be issued by the Bureau of Marijuana Control, a new area of government created by the proposition’s passage. Anyone found to be selling marijuana or transporting it for sale without a license to do so will be charged with a crime. Like growing marijuana, the sale of, or transporting marijuana for sale without a license was previously a felony. Now a misdemeanor under Prop 64, the penalties include up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.