Medicine Man Technologies is excited to announce that California has legalized recreational marijuana by passing Proposition 64. With 56% of the vote, the ballot measure enables the state to regulate and tax how legal pot is cultivated, transported and sold for adult recreational use.
This represents a huge victory for those of us in favor of sensible marijuana laws and a big turnaround from the 2010 election where a recreational pot ballot measure was defeated in a 53.5% to 46.5% vote.
At this point, Californians can possess and grow marijuana legally, however, the state has until January 1, 2018, to begin issuing retail licenses. So, there will be a bit of a wait before you can buy legal pot at your local retail establishment. At least another year will likely be needed to develop the infrastructure required to properly regulate all aspects of California’s budding recreational marijuana industry.
For now, here’s what you need to know now that California has legalized recreational marijuana:
- Adults 21 and older can legally possess up to an ounce of marijuana and grow up to six plants. Grow rooms must be secure and closed from public view.
- Driving while impaired by marijuana remains illegal.
- Commercially cultivated marijuana will be taxed by the state at $9.25 per ounce of flower or $2.75 per ounce of leaves. A 15% excise tax (on top of standard sales tax) will also be applied at the retail level. Cities and counties may also impose their own taxes.
- Tax revenue will be primarily used to cover running the new program. It will also fund youth programs focused on drug education, prevention and treatment. Cleanup and remediation of public land damaged by cultivation will be funded, as well as training for law enforcement and other public safety programs related to regulation of legal marijuana.
- You will not be allowed to smoke marijuana in public places or where state law already prohibits tobacco smoking. No smoking on the sidewalk, in bars, or within 1,000 feet of schools and other places where children are present. You will be subject to a fine.
- Selling marijuana commercially will require a state and possibly a local license, as well as full compliance with all regulations that the state will be implementing. Failure to be licensed will come with a penalty of up to 6 months in jail and a $500 fine.
Overseeing all licensed non-medical marijuana cultivators, manufacturers, testing facilities, distributors, retailers, and microbusinesses will be the Bureau of Marijuana Control inside California’s Department of Consumer Affairs. They will be responsible for governing all labeling, packaging, advertising, testing, and tracking of marijuana.
Stay tuned for our next update on where else marijuana was legalized during the November election. And if you decide to start your own commercial cannabis enterprise now that California has legalized recreational marijuana, our consultants at Medicine Man Technologies are here to guide you through planning, launching and operating a successful business. We’ve had a close eye on the new laws and will work with you to ensure compliance.