California has long been engaged in a battle regarding the legalization of marijuana. In 2010’s election, a bill was put to the voters to decide the legalization of marijuana, but it did not pass. Advocates to the drug’s legalization attempted to get the bill on the 2012 ballot but failed.
In this year’s election, several other states tackled the issue of legalization. In Colorado and Washington, bills legalizing the use of recreational marijuana passed with majority voter support. The legalization of recreational use in Colorado and Washington has re-inspired California advocates to revamp their campaign for the 2016 ballot, if not in 2014.
Currently, California law allows residents to use and grow limited amounts marijuana for medical purposes: “medicinal marijuana” could potentially be used for pain management, for example.
The passing of the bills in Washington and Colorado should have interesting implications for the drug’s regulation. While the drug will now be legal in both states for recreational use, federal laws are still in place that prohibit this type of use. Because of this, there will most likely be a slew of legal complications in the regulation of the drug. Voters will look to these states in upcoming elections to ultimately decide if the legalization of the drug and legal battles would be worth the potential increased revenue to the state.
Advocates for the marijuana’s legalization say that they will continue the fight for inclusion of a legalization bill in the 2016 election. Until then, the laws prohibiting marijuana use remain intact. California has standard penalties for use, possession and sale of marijuana:
|Possession (<28.5 grams)||Infraction||None||$100|
|Possession (>28.5 grams)||Misdemeanor||6 months||$500|
|Cultivation (any amount)||Felony||16 months-3 years|
|Paraphernalia||Misdemeanor||15 days – 6 months||$500|
See California Health & Safety Code 11054(d)(13) for more information. This is not a complete list of the penalties, and each case is treated differently. If you find yourself in a situation involving drug charges, consult a criminal defense attorney for any legal advice.