Cannabis now legal in California

December 31, 2016

Although the drug is still illegal under federal guidelines, an Oregon representative believes that the feds will need to reconsider removing federal penalties for the drug so that each state can independently decide what restrictions to pass. He further called the war on drugs “toxic.” States now use this individual approach when dealing with alcohol. However, medical experts question the safety of the drug, especially when it comes to impairment while driving and how it affects the brains of young people. Those against legalization want further research into the long-term effects of the drug.

The new laws reflect the changing attitudes in the country about the legalization of the drug. According to a Gallup poll in October, 60 percent of those who responded were in support of national legalization, the highest number in nearly half a century.

State laws aside, the federal government’s restrictions prevent interstate sale of marijuana. However, the lieutenant governor of California thinks that the bloc of states where the drug is legal can work together on the issue, possibly effecting national change.

Supporters across the state praised the new law, known as Proposition 64, as criminal justice and a social justice reform since minorities will no longer be arrested and convicted for possession.

The funding disparity in the campaign between the anti-legalization efforts and the pro-legalization efforts no doubt played a huge role in the passing of the bill. The campaign against legalization spent just $2 million while the campaign for legalization spent an estimated $24 million as of Nov. 6. Marijuana companies, optimistic that the drug’s legalization would benefit them, invested heavily into the campaign.

Advocates called the passage of the law a huge victory because of California’s booming economy, its large population and the state’s optimal growing conditions for the drug. The bill passed with a 56 percent approval and permits those over the age of 21 to possess small amounts of the drug for personal use. Individuals can also grow as many as six plants in their homes as long as they cannot be seen by the public. However, it will take at least two years for the licensing process at which time the sale of the drug will begin.

Changing drug laws in California affect criminal sanctions and might even impact previous legal decisions. Larry Bellomo is a Bankruptcy and Family lawyer in Orange County, California. If you are in need of legal representation, contact our office today for your free, no obligation consultation.