The state of California has always spear-headed the movement towards marijuana legislation reform. In 1996, the state was the first to decriminalize possession and legalize medicinal cannabis to those who qualify. Years later, the laws were dramatically changed to allow recreational use with the approval of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) and the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MCRSA) in 2016.

In 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown sought to unify the two laws. His administration created the Medical and Adult Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA), which was then passed that year. The act created a general framework for the regulation of both commercial medicinal and adult-use cannabis in the state of California. If you’d like to participate in the cannabis industry or use the product, it’s important you understand these laws to ensure you violate any cannabis regulations.

Overview of Marijuana Laws in California | Defense Attorney in Ventura County

California’s new cannabis industry is exciting to both be a part of and participate in. However, it’s important you’re aware of the regulations/rules for cannabis in California beforehand. Violation of these rules could result in either an administrative or criminal penalty. To learn more, contact the experienced marijuana defense and business lawyer Jay Leiderman.

Jay Leiderman of Jay Leiderman Law has practiced in California for two decades. He’s seen the ups and downs of marijuana laws in this state and has an in-depth understanding of them. He can utilize his knowledge to provide quality legal representation to you. Call Jay Leiderman Law today at (805) 654-0200 to set up your first consultation free of charge. Jay Leiderman Law accepts clients throughout the greater Ventura County and Santa Barbara County area including Ventura, Santa Barbara, Moorpark, Ojai, Camarillo, Goleta, Solvang, Santa Maria, Summerland, Los Olivos, Santa Ynez, and Buellton.

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What is the MAUCRSA in California?

Government officials in California have consistently led the race when it comes to decriminalizing marijuana. The state was the first to drastically reduce the penalties for marijuana-related crimes and allow medicinal cannabis to qualifying patients. In 2016, the state once again radicalized the nation’s outlook on marijuana when it passed the Medical marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA) as well as the Adult Use of Marijuana Use Act (AUMA).

Both pieces of legislation set forth rules for medicinal and recreational adult-use cannabis. While these laws were celebrated in the state, there were still some large gaps within the legislation. In an effort to address these and unify the laws, Governor Jerry Brown passed the Medical and Adult Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA).

The act gave mor succinct laws on adult-use for cannabis in California and established rules for buying/selling cannabis. It also allowed brick-and-mortar retail and medical dispensaries to operate on a much wider scale. It also allowed offenders who were charged and convicted of a marijuana-related crime to get their sentence reduced or record expunged.

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Is it Legal to Smoke Cannabis in California?

Yes, as of January 2018 it’s legal to smoke cannabis in the state of California. However, that doesn’t mean there are no rules when it comes to consuming cannabis. Both residents and tourists must follow these rules, or they could be arrested for violating them. One of the most important rules is no one under the age of 21 years old can legally smoke in California. That includes consumption of any marijuana product including edibles and oils.

Adults between the ages of 18 and 21 are allowed to smoke with the recommendation of a certified physician or if they have a medicinal card. It’s important you never supply a minor with marijuana in any way. Selling or giving cannabis to minors without authorization is a serious crime in the state of California.

While you can legally smoke in California, you must also smoke only in legally designated areas. That means no smoking in public ever. Even opening a package of cannabis or cannabis products in public is illegal in the state of California. This includes but isn’t limited to sidewalks, businesses, public parks, and parking garages.

If it’s prohibited in a private establishment, then you are not allowed to consume cannabis at that location. It’s also prohibited to consume or possess cannabis at certain locations including bars, restaurants, places of employment, and areas within 15 feet of doors and ventilation openings not related to cannabis. You can, however, consume cannabis on your own private property. However, if you’re renting and your landlord bans the use of it, then you must obey their rules under the lease.

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How Much Marijuana Can You Carry in California?

Not only are there restrictions on where you can carry cannabis, but MAURCSA also implements rules on how much cannabis you’re allowed to own personally. According to the Health and Safety Code 11357, you are not allowed to possess more than 28.5 grams of cannabis at one time for personal use in the state of California. Alongside this, the possession threshold for hashish or concentrated cannabis is up to 8 grams.

Smoking of marijuana, as stated above, is illegal in any public place or location where smoking tobacco is legally prohibited. Although recreational use is legal in California, if you violate these rules you may be criminally charged. Listed below are the penalties for violating cannabis possession rules in the state California.

  • Possession of Marijuana By a Person Under 21 – Infraction
    • Drug counseling
    • Community service
    • A fine of up to $100
  • Possessing More than 28.5 Grams – Misdemeanor
    • Up to 6 months in jail
    • A fine of up to $500
  • Possessing More than 28.5 Grams Under 21 – Infraction
    • Drug counseling
    • Community Service
    • Possible fine

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Can You Grow Marijuana in California?

The short answer is yes, you can grow marijuana plants in the state of California as long as you’re following the rules set forth in MAUCRSA. You are allowed to grow marijuana for personal use without any type of licensing if you’d like. Some conditions you must follow is you must be at least 21 years or older and you cannot cultivate more than 6 cannabis plants.

Alongside these requirements, those who want to grow marijuana must follow any applicable local ordinances in their area. Unless your local laws permit it, you must grow weed inside, in a locked place, and the plants aren’t visible from outside. It’s important to note that if you’re sharing a residence with someone else you can still only cultivate six plants in total.

In context to MAUCRSA, the term “cultivate” means any of the following:

  • Harvesting cannabis
  • Planting cannabis
  • Cultivating cannabis
  • Processing the product
  • Drying out product

Unlawfully cultivating marijuana will result in criminal charges. Growing marijuana between the ages of 18 and 20 is an infraction punishable by a fine of up to $100. If you’re older than 21 and own more than 6 plants, then you’ll face a misdemeanor carrying:

  • Up to 6 months in jail
  • A fine of up to $500

In some cases, the prosecutors may file felony charges against you. This usually happens if you cultivate six plants and one of the following factors was present during the commission of the crime.

  • You’re a registered sex offender
  • You have two or more prior convictions for cultivating marijuana illegally
  • You have a serious violent felony on your record
  • You violated certain environmental laws while cultivating

Felony unlawful cultivating of marijuana is punishable by:

  • Up to 3 years in prison
  • A fine of up to $10,000

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Additional Resources

Cannabis Rules in California – Visit the official website for the California Government: Cannabis Portal to learn the current laws and regulations for adult-use and medicinal cannabis. Access the site to learn more about how to legally cultivate cannabis, consume cannabis, become involved in the cannabis industry, and other important information.

Frequently Asked Questions on Marijuana in CA | NORML – Visit the official website for NORML, the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Legislation. Access the site to find answers to your frequently asked cannabis related questions and other resources.

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Cannabis Defense Lawyer in Ventura, California

If you or someone you know has been accused of violating California’s cannabis laws, we urge you to contact Jay Leiderman Law. Most violations for cannabis occur in California because of an honest mistake made on the “alleged offender.” An experienced attorney can advocate for your innocence on your behalf using compelling evidence and negotiation techniques.

Call Jay Leiderman Law at (805) 654-0200. for quality and experienced representation today. Jay Leiderman has not one, but two decades of experience he can apply for your case. He also helps business owners who are interested in tapping into the cannabis industry get their start. We accept clients throughout the greater Ventura County and Santa Barbara County area.