Everything You Want to Know About Legal Weed but Forgot to Ask
A scene from the Marijuana Mansion Party, thrown by Instagram's @MarijuanaDon, aka Big Mike, in the Hollywood Hills in August
Brian Feinzimer/L.A. Weekly
California did it. We passed recreational marijuana legalization on Nov. 8. The big question, of course, is now what? Assuming that the Trump administration leaves recreational weed alone, can we have a giant marijuana fiesta and throw the rule book out the window? Well, no.
Below is a crowdsourced list of questions — from L.A. Weekly’s law-abiding editorial staff — about what's legit and what isn't under Proposition 64. Some of the questions we could answer ourselves. For others we turned to Tamar Todd, director of legal affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance, which helped write Proposition 64.
Smoke ’em if you got ’em — but only after reading this first.
Can I toke in public.?
No. Language in Proposition 64 continues to forbid it.
Will my favorite medical marijuana dispensary survive?
Maybe. This has little to do with Proposition 64, though, which legalizes holding up to an ounce of pot for those 21 and older. The law allows cities to continue to outlaw, regulate or limit pot shops as they see fit. The city of L.A. technically outlaws all dispensaries, allowing about 135 or fewer to exist under "limited legal immunity." There are two main efforts to change this, one by City Council president Herb Wesson, the other by a group of limited legal immunity shops called the United Cannabis Business Alliance (UCBA). Separate state legislation scheduled to take effect in 2018 mandates city permits for dispensaries that want to stay open. The Wesson and UCBA efforts are driven by a desire to make this happen, lest those limited legal immunity shops become outlaws at the same time legal recreational marijuana sales are allowed to start, on Jan. 1, 2018. If their efforts are successful, it's assumed that many if not all those shops will convert to recreational sales, which would be allowed under the law.
Can I legally grow marijuana without a medical marijuana card now?
Yes — up to six plants indoors.
Are delivery services now legal throughout the state?
Not necessarily. It's up to your local jurisdiction. The Los Angeles City Attorney's Office says they're outlawed here under voter-approved Proposition D. Wesson's proposal (mentioned above) would likely ask city voters in March to legalize these services.
Can I have a marijuana party?
Tamar Todd: "Yes, in a nonpublic space with people 21 and older where marijuana is shared within the possession limits (one ounce, 8 grams)."
Can I now buy from a medical weed shop without a doctor's recommendation?
Tamar Todd: "Not yet. Only if you are a patient. Retail stores for nonpatients will not open until 2018."
Can you fly with weed in your carry-on?
Tamar Todd: "Airlines are regulated by the federal government, so this could cause some problems. Typically this has been OK within a legal state. The policies vary from airport to airport and state to state."
Can I buy weed from a friend?
Tamar Todd: "No. A friend can share it with you ... within the legal possession limit."
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Can I sell weed to a friend?
Tamar Todd: "No. You can only share it with someone else who's 21-plus ... within the legal possession limit. To sell, you must have a license."
Can I drive with a bag of weed?
Tamar Todd: "If it is in a closed container."
Can a passenger smoke weed in my car?
Tamar Todd: "No."
Can restaurants serve weed-infused food?
Tamar Todd: "Only if they obtain a license that allows for on-site consumption [of marijuana]." (We would add that those licenses won't take effect until Jan. 1, 2018.)
Can I smoke weed at a concert/club?
Tamar Todd: "If the concert/club is a public space — open to the public — then only if it has a license that allows for on-site consumption [of marijuana]."
Can employers still drug test for marijuana?
Tamar Todd: "Yes. Proposition 64 includes language in it maintaining the status quo for employers. It does seem odd that employers can deny you employment or fire you for legal conduct. But California is generally an at-will employment state, which allows employers to fire people for whatever they want (unless it's for an illegal reason like race, gender, age, etc.) Even before Proposition 64, employers could fire people for using medical marijuana even when they were doing so legally and pursuant to their doctor's recommendation. Some states do protect employees who are medical marijuana patients, but not California so far. (The Legislature could and should do so.)"
Now go out there and enjoy yourselves. Legally.
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