Last year, Californians voted to legalize weed. It was a big win for the legal cannabis industry and the legalization movement. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that dispensaries in the state are now selling recreational weed. In fact, the reality is a bit more complicated than that. Here’s what is going on in California.
California’s New Recreational Weed Laws
When voters in California approved Proposition 64 last fall, it made several big changes. Here are the most important ones:
- Adults 21 and over can legally grow up to six plants at their homes.
- It’s legal for adults to possess, transport, purchase, consume and share up to one ounce of cannabis.
- Adults can own, transport, purchase, consume, and share up to eight grams of concentrates.
- The state will establish 19 new licenses to regulate the legal cannabis market in the state.
- Dispensaries will be allowed to sell cannabis and concentrates to adults 21 and over for recreational use.
But the tricky part of all this is the timeline for implementing these changes. Right now, it’s legal for adults to grow their own plants at home. You can also possess up to an ounce of weed, walk around with it, and smoke it in private. You can even give up to an ounce of weed to a friend.
But it’s a little more complicated when it comes to buying legal weed. That’s because the state hasn’t started issuing licenses for recreational weed. As a result, dispensaries are technically not supposed to sell recreational weed yet.
Medical dispensaries can continue operating as usual. But growers, distributors, and sellers who want to work with recreational weed still have not received the appropriate licenses. Proposition 64 established January 1, 2018 as the deadline for getting the whole thing up and running. Lawmakers are supposed to have all regulatory frameworks in place by the beginning of next year.
If the deadline is met, the state will begin issuing licenses at the beginning of 2018. That’s when you can start buying legal recreational weed.
Shops Operating In The Gray Area
January 1, 2018, is the official timeline for when recreational weed will become available in California. But in reality, there are tons of shops already selling it.
Throughout California, you can find dispensaries that advertise themselves as “Prop 64 friendly” or “Prop 64 compliant.” These shops are not waiting around for the proper licensing. Instead, they are already selling to adults 21 and over.
But these shops are taking on extra risk. If they are caught, they might be barred from receiving licenses next year.
These shops can also be risky for consumers. Many of them require you to sign forms saying that you are a medical marijuana patient before they will sell you anything. If you are caught doing this, you could get in trouble for fraud or perjury.
The Final Hit
Cannabis fans in California are in a bit of a limbo period right now. On the one hand, recreational weed is legal. You can grow it, own it, use it, and share it with friends. But on the other hand, there will not be anywhere to legally buy it until the state starts issuing licenses next year.
In the meantime, the only option is to take the risk of buying from shops that are selling recreational weed without licenses. It should not be too hard to find a shop willing to sell to you. But buying from them carries extra risks for both consumers and shop owners. Until recreational weed goes online next year, your best bet is to play it safe and get a medical marijuana card.