Adult Use Marijuana, Prop 64, Medical Marijuana, Recreational Marijuana, and you!

With the dust settling from a tumultuous election, many California residents are now wondering what it all means. More specifically, now that Californians have voted in favor of legalizing adult-use recreational marijuana by passing Proposition 64, we are all left with one simple question: Now What? We here at GreenTree Wheels have been fielding many questions from our loyal patients and wanted to take a second to address some of your most common inquiries and concerns.

First, here is a simple set of bullets outlining the basics of the Prop 64 legislation from the California Voter’s Guide…

  • Legalizes marijuana under state law, for use by adults 21 or older.
  • Designates state agencies to license and regulate marijuana industry.
  • Imposes state excise tax of 15% on retail sales of marijuana, and state cultivation taxes on marijuana of $9.25 per ounce of flowers and $2.75 per ounce of leaves.
  • Exempts medical marijuana from some taxation.
  • Establishes packaging, labeling, advertising, and marketing standards and restrictions for marijuana products.
  • Prohibits marketing and advertising marijuana directly to minors.
  • Allows local regulation and taxation of marijuana.
  • Authorizes resentencing and destruction of records for prior marijuana convictions.

 

What does all of this mean, anyway? Let’s break it down:

Who can consume marijuana in California? Any adult aged 21 or over OR any person or caregiver possessing a valid Medical Marijuana Recommendation from a California Medical Board Licensed Doctor.

How much marijuana can I possess? Adults over the age of 21 can possess up to one ounce (28.5 grams) of dried marijuana flower, and up to 8 grams of marijuana concentrate without a medical marijuana recommendation. For those with MMJ recommendations, the local and state limitations still apply. (Check your local government’s website for the most up to date medical marijuana restrictions in your area). POSSESSION IS ILLEGAL WHILE ON GROUNDS OF A SCHOOL, DAY CARE CENTER, OR YOUTH CENTER WHILE CHILDREN ARE PRESENT.

I am an adult over the age of 21, can I buy marijuana at any dispensary? No. In order for a dispensary to sell recreational marijuana, they must first acquire the necessary local and state licenses and permits. At this time, there are no licensing agencies issuing permits as they are still developing the guidelines and regulations for issuing such licenses which could take over a year. Huh? Simply put: it could be as late as January 1, 2018 before recreational marijuana is for sale legally.

So, do I still need my Dr. Recommendation? In order to safely and legally purchase cannabis, you will still need your valid MMJ recommendation. There are speculations that, until regulations are in place, a surge in black market marijuana sales could occur. We at GreenTree Wheels strongly advise against making any black market cannabis purchases as they are: illegal, unsafe (you can’t know where it comes from), untested and untrustworthy.

It says “Exempts medical marijuana from some taxation.” what does that mean? Another reason to keep up with your Dr. Recommendation: SAVE MONEY, SAVE MONEY, SAVE MONEY…. WITH SALES TAX EXEMPTIONS!!! Wooooooo! Saving money is great and if that sounds like something of interest to you, just go to your local county health department with you current and VALID Dr. Recommendation and register to receive a California Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) Medical Marijuana Identification Card (MMIC) . Once you have that card, you can present it at any dispensary to become EXEMPT FROM PAYING SALES TAXES! What?!?!?!? I know, right? There is a lot of money to be saved by doing this, because, as you can see above, we are looking at an ADDITIONAL 15% sales tax for recreational marijuana purchases on top of what we are already paying. In most cities, you are currently paying up to almost 10% (if not more) so if you add 15% more, you will be paying 25% sales taxes on recreational marijuana. Personally, I would rather pay $100 than $125, wouldn’t you?

So, can I just grow my own? Go for it! Under Prop 64, adults over the age of 21 may grow up to 6 plants in their private home, as long as they are locked away and out of sight to the public. Patients with MMJ recommendations can still adhere to the local and state guidelines, check with your local governments website for the most accurate and up to date information on this.

Either way, I can just smoke anywhere now, right? Nope. Prop 64 dictates that adults over the age of 21 may smoke marijuana in a private home, or a business licensed for on-site consumption (those licenses may not be available until 2018, see above). SMOKING MARIJUANA IS PROHIBITED ANYWHERE SMOKING TOBACCO IS PROHIBITED, AND IN ALL PUBLIC PLACES AND WHILE INSIDE A VEHICLE (yes, even passengers are prohibited from smoking marijuana in a car).

What if I am under 21? Anyone under the age of 21 MUST possess a valid CA Dr. Recommendation to possess or consume marijuana for any reason, at any time. Seriously, the penalties for violating this can be pretty steep.

What’s this about resentencing and destruction of records for prior marijuana convictions. OK, this one is HUGESo huge, in fact, that we do not even want to try to explain this. Here is a link to CANORML.ORG and their explanation, with links etc. If you feel that you may be eligible to take advantage of this, we recommend you seek out legal counsel or do some research. This one is exciting!

Before we get into the rest of the bill, let’s recap:

  • Adults 21+ in age can now possess and consume small (personal) amounts of Marijuana
  • Purchasing marijuana legally STILL requires a valid CA medical marijuana recommendation (Out of State MMJ recommendations are still NOT honored in the State of California)
  • No possession or consumption in schools, day care centers, or youth centers.
  • No consumption in vehicles, in public or anywhere tobacco is prohibited.
  • MEDICAL MARIJUANA PATIENTS POSSESSING A VALID California Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) Medical Marijuana Identification Card (MMIC)  ARE EXEMPT FROM PAYING SALES TAXES ON THEIR MEDICINE. (Please see the CA Board of Equalization for more info)
  • If you have prior marijuana convictions, you may be eligible for reduced charges, resentencing or more!
  • *BONUS INFO: YOUR EMPLOYER STILL HAS THE RIGHT TO DENY/TERMINATE EMPLOYMENT FOR MARIJUANA USAGE, YOUR LANDLORD CAN STILL PROHIBIT MARIJUANA SMOKING ON PREMESIS!

Commercial Marijuana/Cannabis Activity:

Ok, so beyond what we have already covered, most of the rest of the bill tends to pertain to commercial marijuana activities. We at GreenTree Wheels work tirelessly to stay current on the changing regulations and engage the best legal counsel to help us interpret legislation and stay in full compliance with Local and State ordinances. Here is what 64 means to marijuana businesses as of yet.

  • The retail sale of recreational marijuana will not be legal until January 1, 2018. (yes, we have already begun working towards getting the necessary licenses to sell both recreational and medical marijuana)
  • Beginning January 1, 2018 a 15% tax is imposed on the purchase of marijuana and marijuana products.
  • Beginning January 1, 2018 a CULTIVATION tax is imposed on the cultivators. $9.25 per dry-weight flower ounce, and $2.75 per dry-weight of ounce of marijuana leaves (trim).
  • Prop 64 gives local governments the authority to regulate and impose taxes as well. This means that regardless of state regulations, each local government still has the right to BAN all commercial cannabis activity including cultivation and DELIVERY. Those local governments that do not ban commercial cannabis activity can still impose taxes, YES— MORE TAXES FOR YOU TO PAY. We encourage all readers to check with your local government’s website for the most up-to-date info in your area. We also encourage you to contact and speak with your local representatives to ensure that your needs and rights are being seen to.
  • Prior to the passing of Prop 64, regulations and legislations were already being developed for our existing Medical Marijuana Industry including the establishment of a State Regulatory Body: The Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation. With the passing of 64, this Bureau was renamed: The Bureau of Marijuana Control. It is responsible for regulating and licensing ALL marijuana businesses.
  • Prop 64 also has specific language designed to prevent licenses for “large-scale” marijuana businesses for five years in order to discourage “unlawful monopoly power.” While we aren’t completely clear on exactly what all this means (how do they define “large-scale” marijuana businesses for instance) and what steps will be taken to ensure this, we do know that this is designed to give all of us existing marijuana businesses a fighting chance at ensuring our future in an industry we worked so hard to build.

A few thoughts on the “bigger” federal picture:

This was a truly historic election year, voters were exposed to an onslaught of campaign ads, smear campaigns, and heated debates like never before. Tensions amongst various groups were at an all time high fueled by passion and on November 8th, 2016 Donald Trump was voted the 45th President of these United States of America. Politics aside, I think we can all agree it was an exhausting election year and we could all probably use a nap. With President-Elect Trump transitioning into his new position, cabinet positions are being filled and we, the People, are watching with bated breath wondering what the fate of the marijuana industry will be moving into this new era. Many of you have been asking us what the future holds and the answer is simply… we really do not know. Though President-Elect Trump has mentioned that marijuana should be a state issue, it really remains to be seen whether his Cabinet members will follow suit, let alone Congress or the Supreme Court. There are so many factors to consider that it seems too early to even speculate. With that said, we at GreenTree Wheels want to assure you that we will be here for you every step of the way as the future unfolds and will continue to provide high quality medicinal marijuana (and adult use marijuana once we are licensed to do so) for as long as the State Laws allow.

 

That’s about it, let’s wrap it up for now…

Bottom line, not much changes yet except that if you are an adult over the age of 21 and law enforcement finds you in possession of a small (see above) amount of marijuana without a valid CA medical marijuana recommendation, you probably won’t get arrested. Prop 64 may not have answered absolutely all of our prayers, but it is a great start toward bringing our industry out of the shadows to take its place as the valuable, revenue-generating, job providing, bit of commerce that it is. While there are sill some unanswered questions, and we still have to wait 2018 to enjoy the full benefits of Prop 64, we are looking to the future with great enthusiasm for a new era of regulated marijuana. At the end of the day, if you are over 21 years of age, it is your choice to use marijuana for medical or recreational use, you should never feel pressured into it or away from it, but we do recommend that you continue to educate yourself about marijuana before making any decisions. If you do choose to consume marijuana or marijuana products, either for your health or for fun, please do so responsibly.

 

Disclaimer:
This blog is intended for entertainment purposes only, and while the above information is true as far as we know it to be, we are not legal professionals, doctors, or any other type of professional with specialized authority on this subject. The thoughts and opinions expressed herein are based on the research and experience of the GreenTree Wheels Team and are not officially endorsed by anyone outside of the GreenTree Wheels Team.

Helpful Links and Resources:

https://www.oag.ca.gov/system/files/initiatives/pdfs/15-0103%20(Marijuana)_1.pdf?

http://voterguide.sos.ca.gov/en/propositions/64/

https://ballotpedia.org/California_Proposition_64,_Marijuana_Legalization_(2016)

https://www.boe.ca.gov/industry/medical_cannabis.html#Overview

http://www.canorml.org

http://www.thecannabist.co/2016/11/16/california-medical-marijuana-tax-proposition-64-omission/67735/