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Marijuana in California: Legal vs. Illegal

Marijuana CaliforniaMarijuana laws and regulations are changing across the United States. While some of these changes have positive effects, they can muddle the system and make it difficult to know right from wrong.

In California, consumers have dozens of questions about recreational and medical marijuana laws. Here, we’ll outline what’s legal, what isn’t, what additional restrictions you should consider, and what penalties you might face for breaking the law.

Legal Use and Possession

At this time, in the state of California, it’s legal for any adult over the age of twenty-one to possess, process, transport, purchase, or obtain one ounce of cannabis or eight grams of concentrated cannabis.

These adults may also cultivate, possess, plant, harvest, or process six live plants or less. The produce of these plants can be kept, but must be stored in a locked space on private property.

These rules and regulations were put forward by AUMA, or the Adult Use of Marijuana Act. AUMA was approved by the voters of California on November 8, 2016.

Prohibited Use and Possession

Under AUMA, you cannot:

  • Consume cannabis or possess an open container of cannabis while driving
  • Smoke or vaporize cannabis in a non-smoking area
  • Smoke, vaporize, or ingest cannabis in a public place
  • Possess or use cannabis in school buildings, daycares, or youth centers 

Additional Restrictions

When AUMA was created, several additional restrictions were included. First and foremost, employers maintain the right to keep a drug and alcohol-free workplace. They also reserve the right to forbid the use of cannabis by employees.

Second, landlords may prohibit or restrict smoking, vaporizing, or ingesting cannabis on their private property. And, finally, government agencies may prohibit or restrict cannabis in buildings they either own or occupy.

To put it simply, you can have marijuana on your person for recreational or medical use in the state of California, but you may not smoke or ingest marijuana in public places, drug-free work environments, marijuana-free apartment buildings, or government property.

By far, the best way to protect yourself under AUMA is to consume marijuana at home in regulated amounts, assuming you live on legal property.

Criminal Penalties

There are, of course, criminal penalties for those who fail to follow the guidelines set forth by AUMA. These penalties include:

  • A $100 infraction for underage possession of one ounce or less
  • A misdemeanor for illegal possession of more than one ounce of cannabis
  • A $250 infraction for possession of one ounce or less during school hours on school grounds
  • A $100 infraction for underage cultivation
  • A misdemeanor for illegal cultivation, drying, harvesting, or processing of more than six plants
  • A misdemeanor for possession of cannabis with the intent to make an illegal sale

Any misdemeanor charges can be changed to federal charges for repeat offenders, those interested in selling cannabis to minors, or those who have violated environmental statutes.

Contact an Experienced Attorney to Learn More

At Elden Law Group, we specialize in drug possession charges. Contact our experienced team of criminal defense lawyers for assistance and representation.

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