Chances are, you probably know by now that recreational cannabis sales were legalised in California on the first day of 2018. Representing one of the biggest and most important milestones in the history of cannabis legalisation in the United States as a whole.
Having passed by a sizeable majority, Proposition 64 led to cannabis being given the green light in the Golden State for the first time. Nevertheless, the new legislation doesn’t fundamentally provide citizens with the right to cultivate, purchase and use cannabis without any restrictions whatsoever.
In fact, the rules in California remain relatively strict.
The Federal Cannabis Cloud
As is the case everywhere else in North America, the fact that cannabis remains illegal at a Federal level continues to complicate the issue enormously.
Just this week, controversial U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions made the decision to backtrack on a memo penned by the Obama Administration suggesting that the Federal government should take a hands-off approach to cannabis control. Worst-case scenario, the move was seen as a possible precursor to a widescale Federal cannabis crackdown, but it remains to be seen whether anything of the sort materialises.
Cannabis Purchase Regulations in California
The way things stand right now, adults aged at least 21 are now legally able to purchase a maximum of 1 ounce of cannabis daily, or 8g of cannabis concentrates. Which should prove sufficient for most in both instances.
Things get a little more confusing when purchasing cannabis edibles and related products like cannabis butter, given that the concentration of marijuana THC in each product may differ significantly. Cannabis can only be purchased from state-licensed recreational dispensary and all purchases must be accompanied by a valid ID or driver’s license.
Given the fact that most major banks are unwilling to go anywhere near the cannabis industry for the time being at least, most purchases must be made by way of cash.
The Cost of Legal Cannabis
Prices vary enormously from one retailer and strain to the next, but to expect recreational pot to be on the market for pennies is to face an unpleasant surprise. As a rule of thumb, industry watchers have warned cannabis users in general to expect to pay approximately $8 per ounce more for high-end weed than they might be used to. Somewhere in the region of $58 in total.
Cannabis plantations tax has been set at 15% for medical and recreational cannabis and cannabis products alike, alongside in any additional local fees and taxes. Dispensaries in Oakland, for example, are required to pay an additional 10% tax for all recreational products sold and 5% for medical pot sales.
The rules that apply to cannabis consumption are similar to those that apply to tobacco, though rather more wide-reaching and severe. In a nutshell, it is illegal to consume cannabis by any method – including edibles – on public property of any kind. Meaning you need to get high on private property or not at all.
Cannabis and Driving
January 1 also brought into effect a new law that prohibits any kind of cannabis consumption before or during the process of driving a car, or travelling as a passenger in a car. This means that it is illegal for both passengers and drivers alike to consume cannabis products of any kind in an automobile. If cannabis is being transported in a vehicle of any kind, it needs to be in a sealed container and locked safely away in a place like the trunk.
Legal Cultivation Guidelines
Last but not least, anyone looking to save a small fortune is now legally entitled to grow up to six cannabis plants at home. Better yet, there are no specific limitations to how much cannabis you are legally entitled to harvest and store on your private property. It remains illegal to carry more than 1 ounce of cannabis on your person at any time, but just as long as you stick within the maximum six plants, you could technically stockpile as much of the stuff as you like.
Expect the goalposts to shift significantly over the coming weeks and months, but this is pretty much the size of it for folks over in California right now.