Recreational Weed Is Finally Legal— So What Does That Mean?

Recreational cannabis got the green light in California Tuesday night with the approval of Prop. 64, the Adult Use Marijuana Act (AUMA). For the firs time in history cannabis is legal—both medical and recreational—under California state law. But that doesn’t mean you should waltz down the street, bong-in-hand, taking cloudy rips in plain sight.

Measures MM and MA

For one thing, it’s still illegal to smoke in public, unfortunately. As of Nov. 9th, however, smoking in the comfort of your own home is legal for everyone over the age of 21—even those without a doctors note. Vapes, on-the-other-hand, can be smoked in general smoking areas (and at home), but nowhere else. Don’t expect to purchase recreational pot any time soon, though. At least not until January 1st, 2018, any way.

AUMA also immediately makes possessing and transporting up to an ounce of weed legal for anyone now, too. Oh, and you can start growing up to six plants in your home (but there are no recreational dispensaries yet, so if you don’t have a medical license it might be difficult to procure seeds and/or baby plants.). Up until yesterday these laws only applied to medical marijuana patients. Now they apply to everyone.

The last immediate impact of Prop 64 allows people in prison for non-violent marijuana offenses to apply for sentence reduction or parole. This, according to David Dinenberg, the CEO of Los Angeles-based software company KIND Financial, is the aspect that makes AUMA instantly commendable. “What I am the proudest of in regards to Prop 64, is the fact that it deals with Justice reform,” he says. “The only other state with recreational marijuana that has had a complete thought on [social justice reform] is Oregon.”

But AUMA only permits state licensed businesses to sell recreational pot, and the state has until Jan. 1st, 2018 to begin issuing sales licenses to retailers. What the state will be doing between now and then is weeding through a laundry list of regulations, and applications from people and businesses all over California. And because every city is allowed to put their own rules in place, it makes it a bit more complicated for the state. In other words, recreational storefronts won’t be around for a while. Until then, sadly, there’s no way for people to purchase cannabis for adult use consumption. So don’t kick your weed dealer to the curb just yet because you’ll need ‘em for at least another 18 months.

Although the approval of Prop. 64 had stoners across our Golden State sparking-up in celebration Tuesday night, not everyone is happy about California making the recreational jump. Chief Ken Corney, president of the California Police Chiefs Association, made it known that he and his group are upset about the vote. “We, of course, are disappointed that the self-serving moneyed interests behind this marijuana business plan prevailed at the cost of public health, safety, and the well-being of communities,” he said. “We will take a thorough look at the flaws in Proposition 64 that will negatively impact public health and safety, such as the initiative’s substandard advertising restrictions and lack of prosecutorial tools for driving under the influence of marijuana, and begin to develop legislative solutions.”

It’ll be interesting to see how Orange County reacts to the recreational side of the cannabis industry, considering the majority of OC cities have banned marijuana outright. Regardless, the approval of Prop. 64 is a major milestone for the cannabis industry. “This is not just a liberal movement anymore,” says Dinenberg. “This is a true industry coming forward.”

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