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Legal Marijuana and Arrests in California

Recreational marijuana is legal in California, so that means you can have it and smoke it anytime you want, right? Not so fast. You can still be arrested for marijuana in California.

While marijuana is legal for recreational use, there are still some laws that you must follow or you could get into legal trouble. It is important to note that you can still be arrested under some circumstances for the use or possession of marijuana in California. 

Laws Regarding Legal Marijuana Use in California

Every state has its own laws in place and some states do not even allow recreational use of marijuana yet. You must follow the law or you could still be charged with a drug crime for marijuana.

In California, only recreational use of marijuana is allowed. Therefore, you can only be in possession of a small amount of the drug. Adults may purchase or possess up to an ounce of cannabis for personal use or up to 8 ounces of concentrated cannabis, also known as hash. You may grow up to six cannabis plants, again only for your own use. It is illegal to smoke or ingest marijuana in public. You cannot use marijuana while you are driving. 

California Arrest for Marijuana under the Adult Use of Marijuana Act

The Adult Use of Marijuana Act, AUMA, is also called California Proposition 64. The AMUA was passed in 2016 and provides for the recreational use of marijuana by persons over the age of 21. The law covers three essential areas including the possession, use, and cultivation of marijuana. The regulations are part of the California Health and Safety Codes. The AMUA restricts the recreational use of marijuana in public places, in places where tobacco smoking is prohibited, and within 1,000 feet of a school or daycare where children are present. In addition, it is illegal to use marijuana while driving a vehicle or while you are the passenger of a vehicle. 

California Arrest for Marijuana under the Cultivation of Marijuana Law

Under state law in California, you may cultivate marijuana for your own personal, recreational use. However, some restrictions apply. You may grow up to six mature or 12 immature marijuana plants inside your residence. You may grow plants indoors or outside. If you grow marijuana indoors, the plants must be in a secured and fully enclosed area that is not visible from a public space. All marijuana over 28.5 grams must be kept in a locked location within your private residence. Cities can enforce their own laws regarding growing marijuana for commercial use, but not for personal use. 

California Arrest for Marijuana due to Age Restrictions

Age is an important factor when considering the recreational use and possession of marijuana. 

According to the laws of California, recreational marijuana use is allowed only for adults age 21 and older. Those under the age of 21 are not allowed to use or possess marijuana, even for recreational use. If you are under the age of 21, you can be charged with a crime for possession or use of marijuana, even if you only have a small amount. Those under the age of 21 can obtain a doctor’s recommendation or medical marijuana card from the county department of health that allows you to legally purchase marijuana from a dispensary. Marijuana use for medicinal purposes is not the same as using it for recreational reasons. Keep in mind that some dispensaries do not allow the purchase of marijuana by anyone under the age of 21, even with a doctor’s recommendation. 

Federal Marijuana Laws

At the current time, Federal drug laws prohibit the possession, use, or distribution of marijuana. Marijuana possession, use and distribution are prohibited by Federal Law 21 U.S.C. § 801 et seq.  Federal laws supersede state and local laws, so it is possible to get arrested on federal drug charges. However, the U.S. Attorney General has indicated that he does not intend to pursue federal drug charges for possession or use of marijuana in states that have their own marijuana regulations in place. The federal legislators may consider bringing and passing federal laws that will decriminalize marijuana use and possession for recreational use. 

California Arrest for Marijuana: Penalties

Penalties for illegal marijuana use or possession are in place in California. You can be arrested and prosecuted for possession of too much marijuana, for selling marijuana, or for using marijuana while driving. When you possess more than the legal allotment of recreational marijuana you could be charged with intent to distribute. The penalties for marijuana possession, use, and distribution vary. If you are stopped in a vehicle and the officer sees marijuana, he can investigate and may confiscate the drugs. You may be charged with an infraction, which is similar to a ticket, or you could be charged with a crime, depending on the amount of marijuana in your possession and your age. 

Contact an Aggressive Drug Defense Attorney Today

A drug conviction could include penalties such as community service, fines, jail time, and drug rehabilitation. Federal drug charges can be more severe than state charges and therefore carry stronger sentences. If you are charged with a marijuana drug crime, it is helpful to seek immediate guidance from an experienced criminal attorney. Your lawyer will answer your questions and guide you through the process and will help resolve the case in your best interest.

At David Lehr Law, we have experience representing clients charged with drug crimes. Contact our legal team today for a free consultation online at David Lehr Law or by phone at (805) 477-0070.