It’s the dawn of a new day in California, with marijuana now legal for all adults thanks to the passage of Proposition 64.
As of Wednesday, residents and visitors 21 and older can consume, carry, give and receive up to an ounce of cannabis. They can grow some at home. And one day, they’ll be able to buy it in shops with a flash of their IDs.
The ins and outs of how Prop. 64 will work are a bit complicated. But for now, here’s a good rule of thumb: Think of the new rules for pot much like the more familiar laws for alcohol.
You have to be 21 to partake. You can’t indulge while walking down the street. You can’t drive or go to work while intoxicated.
Still have questions? We’ve got answers.
Q: Where can I buy it?
A: You can’t. The state has until January 2018 to figure out how to license businesses. And not every town is gung ho – some places may not ever OK the sale of commercial cannabis.
Q: That seems like a long time to wait. Do I have any other options?
A: Yes – you can get it as a gift. The holidays are coming.
Q: That’s cool. Who can give it to me?
A: You need a generous friend with a medical marijuana license. Be sure it’s less than 8 grams of concentrate or an ounce of dry weed, enough to roll about 40 average-sized joints. Remember: it’s got to be free – you can’t pay, trade, barter or swap babysitting services.
Q: No problem. We’ll share. Where can we go?
A: Stay home. Netflix is your friend. Like tobacco, cannabis smoking is illegal in any public place or anywhere that smoking tobacco is already banned, like restaurants, bars, planes or public buildings. You can’t light up when you’re bored in line at DMV.
Q: I actually have a medical marijuana card. Is it still good?
A: Yes. Prop. 64 didn’t effect medical marijuana laws, so your rights are the same as before the election.
Q: I’ve got a green thumb. Any advice?
A: Starting today, you can grow up to six plants in your home. But anything you grow has to be locked up – and out of view of nosy neighbors. And check on local policies, since some cities are rushing to say grows for personal use must be indoors or permitted.
Q: Cool. Where do I buy seeds?
A: Same catch-22. Seeds and seedlings aren’t for sale until the state gives the OK. (Gift idea!) But it’s perfectly legal to buy grow lights and all that other stuff. While it’s not a cheap hobby, your local nursery is finally allowed to offer horticultural advice.
Q: But I don’t want my kids smoking my homegrown until they get into Stanford.
A: Good idea. There’s a lot of research saying that pot affects brain development.
Q: We’ll just smoke out in the car.
A: It’s illegal to drive with an open container, or while high.
Q: What if I got busted for marijuana before? Does that record go away?
A: Not automatically. But many marijuana-related felonies became misdemeanors overnight, while some misdemeanors and infractions became legal. You’ll just need to petition the court to update your sentence or record based on the new laws.
Q: How will police know I’m high?
A: They’re still trying to figure that out. You can expect a “field sobriety test” – gymnastics that entail balancing on one leg and walking in a perfectly straight line.
Q: What about work? Can I still get fired if I test positive for weed?
A: Potentially. Employers still get to set their own rules. So even though you can legally smoke on your own time, weed can stay in your system for days. And if you don’t pass a surprise drug test, it’s up to your employer how to handle it.
Q: This is all so complicated. I think I’ll just go to Oregon.
A: What happens in Portland, stays in Portland. California says you can’t bring it back across state lines.
Q: Bummer. Thanks for all that. But wait – I still have questions!
A: We feel your pain. Click here to read the text of Proposition 64. Or leave your questions in the comments below and we’ll try to get them answered.
– Staff writer Brooke Edwards Staggs contributed to this report.