The passage of Proposition 64 has the state of California, county and local governments and law enforcement scrambling to get on the same page when it comes to the legal aspects of the new law.
Prop 64 now allows Californians who are 21 and older to possess, transport and buy up to 28.5 grams of marijuana and to use it for recreational purposes.
Its also now legal to grow marijuana for personal use with some important restrictions for pot smokers to remember.
“Its just the same alcohol”, says Santa Maria Police Lt. Russ Mengel, “its legal to consume, but if you now operate a motor vehicle and your under the influence (of marijuana) it’s a criminal statute violation that an individual will be arrested for.”
The new law allows adults to grow up to six marijuana plants for personal use.
Retail sales will be licensed, regulated and taxed by the state and local governments under the formation of a new California Bureau of Marijuana Control.
Its illegal to smoke recreational marijuana anywhere where tobacco smoke is prohibited in the state including public places like restaurants, movie theaters and near government buildings.
Counties and cities already have, or our pursuing, ordinances with additional restrictions for smoking marijuana in public.
“We have some bans against that type of activity here in the city as well even smoking in parks and on public property, a municipal code that was passed just in the last few weeks”, Lt. Mengel says.
Smoking marijuana is prohibited within 1,000 feet of a school, daycare or youth center whenever children are present.
Its illegal to smoke and drive.
“Its going to be an adjustment period for everybody in California”, Mengel says, “but again our greatest concern is the operation of motor vehicles.”
It could be awhile before recreational marijuana is sold in stores, perhaps as long as another year or more.
Proposition 64 gives the state of California until January 1, 2018 to begin issuing state licenses to sell recreational marijuana in retail locations.