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Is Marijuana Possession a Misdemeanor in California?


California has led the nation in embracing the medical and recreational use of marijuana. Following the state's historic passing of Prop 215 in 1996, which was the first statewide medical marijuana initiative to pass in the U.S., California voters have continually shown their support for rolling back draconian marijuana drug crime laws that originated from America's War on Drugs. Over the years, various measures and laws have been passed to decriminalize and even legalize marijuana in the state of California.

With the recent passing of Proposition 64 in November of 2016, recreational marijuana use by adults is now legal. This means that adults who possess a personal amount of marijuana won't be charged with any crime or infraction, which was the previous standard set under older laws and under decriminalization efforts associated with Prop 47.

What Are My Rights Under Prop 47?

When it comes to marijuana possession and Prop 64, it is important to know that the law doesn't mean an individual can possess as much marijuana as they want or use marijuana wherever they wish.

Here are the changes and thresholds under the new law:

  • Adults over the age of 21 can possess up to one ounce of marijuana, or up to 8 grams of concentrated THC.
  • Adults 21 and over can cultivate up to 6 marijuana plants per residence for personal use.
  • Reduced penalties in most cases not involving possession - including illegal cultivation, possession for sale, sales, and transportation of marijuana - from felonies to misdemeanors.
  • Permits individuals convicted of marijuana offenses before Prop 64 took effect to have their criminal records changed.

There are stipulations and exceptions to California's legalization of marijuana, but for the most part, adults over 21 who possess a personal amount of marijuana will not face criminal charges.

Keep in mind that even though recreational use of marijuana is legal, there are still ways you can get in trouble with the law for a marijuana-related offense, including:

  • Driving under the influence of marijuana
  • Juveniles and adults under the age of 21 who possess marijuana
  • Illegal cultivation, sales, or transportation of marijuana
  • Smoking or consuming marijuana in a public place or while driving
  • Possession of marijuana on school grounds
  • Possession of an open marijuana container while in a motor vehicle

Seeking Counsel? Contact Our Fullerton Drug Crime Attorney

At The Law Offices of Jacqueline Goodman, our Orange County criminal defense drug crime lawyer and support staff believe California's approach is a healthy, working alternative to oppressive laws that harshly and unfairly punished marijuana offenders throughout the years. We want to remind everyone who enjoys marijuana to do so safely and in accordance with the new laws.

We are also available to help anyone who does find themselves facing charges for a marijuana-related offense, including marijuana DUI, as well as individuals who wish to change their criminal records for a marijuana conviction that would be different under current law.

To speak with Attorney Jacqueline Goodman during a free consultation, contact us today.

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