Posted: December 29, 2018 – Last Updated: Jan 3, 2018
California officially entered a watershed moment when it fully legalized adult use recreational marijuana on January 1, 2018.
This New Years Day was historic, as January 1st marked for many Californians – the end of a long, ineffective and socially destructive prohibition of the marijuana plant.
Although still illegal on the federal level, 29 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana in the US, either for medical or recreational purposes. More recently, California, Nevada, Massachusetts and Maine all passed measures in November to legalize recreational marijuana.
The Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) is California’s lead agency that develops regulations for both the medical and recreational systems in the state. The Bureau is responsible for licensing marijuana retailers, distributors, micro businesses and testing labs.
In a press release on December 14, the California Bureau of Cannabis Control stated they issued 20 licenses for both medical and recreational operations in the state. These licenses became effective on January 1, 2018.
The roll-out of marijuana businesses will happen gradually across the state, depending on application approvals and county/municipal governments.
Highlights of California’s Proposition 64
Adults 21 and over will be able to buy and consume marijuana when in California, whether they are a residents or tourists.
Purchase and Possession Limits
Adults will be able to purchase up to one ounce (28.5 grams) of marijuana from licensed retailers for personal use.
The law permits adults to possess a maximum of one ounce at a time.
Home Grow Limits
Adults will be permitted to grow a maximum of six plants at a time for personal use.
Where can marijuana be consumed?
Smoking marijuana will be limited to private residence or at a business licensed for on-site marijuana consumption.
The Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation was renamed the Bureau of Cannabis Control and became responsible for regulating and licensing marijuana businesses.
Counties and municipalities were empowered to restrict where marijuana businesses could be located. Local governments were also allowed to completely ban the sale of marijuana from their jurisdictions. Moreover, local jurisdictions were allowed by the measure to “reasonably regulate” the personal growth, possession, and use of marijuana plants allowed by Prop. 64.
Proposition 64 created two new excise taxes on marijuana:
- A cultivation tax of $9.25 per ounce for flowers and $2.75 per ounce for leaves, with exceptions for certain medical marijuana sales and cultivation
- A 15 percent tax on the retail price of marijuana
Taxes will be adjusted for inflation starting in 2020. Local governments were authorized to levy taxes on marijuana as well.
Revenue from the two taxes will be deposited in a new California Marijuana Tax Fund. First, the revenue will be used to cover costs of administrating and enforcing the measure. Next, it will be distributed to drug research, treatment, and enforcement, including:
- $2 million per year to the UC San Diego Center for Medical Cannabis Research to study medical marijuana.
- $10 million per year for 11 years for public California universities to research and evaluate the implementation and impact of Proposition 64. Researchers would make policy change recommendations to the California Legislature and California governor.
- $3 million annually for five years to the Department of the California Highway Patrol for developing protocols to determine whether a vehicle driver is impaired due to marijuana consumption.
- $10 million, increasing each year by $10 million until settling at $50 million in 2022, for grants to local health departments and community-based nonprofits supporting “job placement, mental health treatment, substance use disorder treatment, system navigation services, legal services to address barriers to reentry, and linkages to medical care for communities disproportionately affected by past federal and state drug policies.”
The remaining revenue will be distributed as follows:
- 60 percent to youth programs, including drug education, prevention, and treatment.
- 20 percent to prevent and alleviate environmental damage from illegal marijuana producers.
- 20 percent to programs designed to reduce driving under the influence of marijuana and a grant program designed to reduce negative impacts on health or safety resulting from the proposition.
Individuals under age 18 convicted of marijuana use or possession are required to attend drug education or a counseling program and complete community service. Selling marijuana without a license is punishable by up to six months in a county jail, a fine up to $500, or both.
With Proposition 64’s approval, individuals serving criminal sentences for activities made legal under the measure became eligible for re-sentencing.
By Marijuana.Ca Staff