It’s now legal for those 21 and older to smoke marijuana in California but only under specific conditions.
“We will enforce the law as voters approved it,” Manteca Police Chief Nick Oblgiacion said Wednesday after California votes embraced Proposition 64 by a 56 percent to 44 percent margin.
So what does that mean exactly?
QUESTION: Can a neighbor turn me into the police if I smoke marijuana in my front yard or back yard and the smoke drifts into an open window or their yard?
ANSWER: They can call but it won’t do them any good. There’s nothing illegal about anyone 21 and older smoking pot on private property or if marijuana smoke originating from your home or yard raises a stink with neighbors. Chief Obligacion said when the department fields such complaints as law enforcement officials have in Colorado, department personnel will inform callers there is no law regulating such a situation.
QUESTION: Can you open a marijuana dispensary or deliver marijuana anytime soon in Ripon, Manteca, Lathrop, Stockton or San Joaquin County?
ANSWER: No. That’s because Proposition 64 language keeps local prohibition for those two activities in place if local jurisdictions had such laws in place before Nov. 8. That goes for all marijuana sales, medicinal or recreational.
QUESTION: But what if it is legal to buy non-medicinal pot at a dispensary that may open in Oakland? Couldn’t I have it delivered in Manteca if they have a delivery service?
ANSWER: No. The city prohibition against deliveries in Manteca applies to all marijuana.
QUESTION: How much pot can I have?
ANSWER: If you are 21 or older you can possess, process, transport, obtain, purchase or give away 28.5 grams of non-concentrated non-medical marijuana or 8.5 grams of marijuana products. But here’s the hitch. It is still not legal for you to personally sell pot to anyone. And the state, under Proposition 64, the state can’t legally issue licenses for recreational pot dispensaries in jurisdictions where they are allowed until after January 1, 2018. The penalty for selling to anyone 20 years or younger is still a felony that carries a 3 to 7 years sentence. Until then the only legal way you can legally buy it is if you have a medical marijuana card and buy it from a legal medical marijuana dispensary. It is no longer illegal to share up to an ounce with someone else that is over 21.
QUESTION: How many pot plants can I have?
ANSWER: You can possess plant, cultivate, harvest, dry, or process up to six plants per residence for personal use. It doesn’t mean six plants per adult. Nor does it mean if there are two couples living in a residence that they are two separate households. It is a six plant maximum per living unit whether it is a home, apartment unit or trailer and it has to be for personal use.
QUESTION: Does that apply to renters?
ANSWER: Yes, but here’s the rub. If the conditions in rental or lease agreements say you can’t use marijuana in the premises you could be subject to an eviction.
QUESTION: That doesn’t seem fair.
ANSWER: It’s the same type of rule that a landlord may put in place for smoking or pets.
QUESTION: But I was told Proposition 64 treats marijuana use no differently than smoking.
ANSWER: Not exactly but close. You can’t smoke pot in a public place nor wherever tobacco smoking is prohibited. You can’t smoke within 1,000 feet if a school, day care center, or a youth center unless you reside on property within 1,000 feet of such places and you smoke on the property where you reside.
QUESTION: What is the penalty for doing so?
ANSWER: Here’s a surprise for you. If you are caught smoking cigarettes where it is illegal to do, it is a $100 fine. Smoke marihuana where you aren’t legally allowed to do so and Proposition 64 calls for a $250 fine.
QUESTION: It’s illegal for a driver to smoke marijuana in a car but what about a passenger?
ANSWER: The short answer is no. Just like with alcohol the open container law applies. Passengers can not smoke pot while riding in a car. Those prohibitions also apply to aircraft, boats, trains and such.
QUESTION: Can I grow marijuana in my yard?
ANSDWER: Absolutely not. It can only be grown inside a home or an outbuilding that can be secured.
QUESTION: Does the law apply to lotions with marijuana in it?
ANSWER: It doesn’t matter whether you smoke it, eat it, drink it, or smear it on your body the parameters regarding use, amounts, and possession still apply.
QUESTION: Do I have to worry about the police routinely using drug sniffing dogs during a traffic stop to see if I have marijuana?
ANSWER: No because they have to have probable cause that a law is being broken. Obligacion said since recreational use of marijuana for anyone 21 years or older is now legal a trained drug dog simply catching a scent of pot isn’t probable cause.
QUESTION: Does this mean schools can no longer use drug dogs for random searches on campuses?
ANSWER: No. It is still legal for schools to conduct random searches using drug sniffing dogs. as Manteca Unified Superintendent Jason Messer has pointed out schools are governed by an entirely different set of rules. Before Proposition 64 passed the use, possession, or selling of marijuana carried stiffer penalties on school grounds. That is still the case. As Messer has noted, an underage marijuana user on a school campus — as well as an adult — can suffer far more severe consequences from marijuana use than anywhere else in California
QUESTION: What is the limit for marijuana content in one’s system before it constitutes driving under the influence?
ANSWER: There is no standard in place. Get arrested for impaired driving while under the influence and the consequences are the same as being arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol.
QUESTION: Can my employer fire me if I test positive for marijuana?
ANSWER: Proposition 64 allows employers to maintain drug-free workplaces if they so choose. So the short answer to the question is yes.
QUESTION: Does Proposition 64 supersede federal marijuana laws?