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The Legality of Marijuana in California

About Legal Marijuana In California

In 2019 the California legal Marijuana market will be worth in the region of 3.1 billion. Given that the California market was worth $2.1 billion in 2018 the growth of licensed Marijuana sales at 23% year on year has been nothing short of spectacular. The latest sales projections mean that California is the largest market for legal Marijuana sales in the world.

So what do consumers need to know about the California legal Marijuana market?

California marijuana outlets, dispensaries

Firstly – the legal Marijuana market mirrors the age restrictions that are in place for the purchase and consumption of alcoholic beverages. consumers need to be 21 years or older to buy Marijuana and related products such as edibles and even Marijuana-infused vaping ‘juice’. For retailers, there can be stiff fines if they are found guilty of selling Marijuana and other Marijuana-infused products.

In a similar way to which alcohol is treated those under the influence of Marijuana are prohibited from driving a motor vehicle. However, testing can be problematic and agreement of what actually constitutes impairment from Marijuana use is proving tricky to pin down.

There are plenty of other restrictions on the use of marijuana and related products. these govern how much of the product can be carried or in the possession of the consumer. Currently, that limit is 28.5 grams of plant material (which is around an ounce). There is also a limit of 8 grams for the possession of ‘concentrated’ Cannabis.

It is also illegal to consume, eat, smoke or otherwise use Marijuana and its related products in public. In fact, it is illegal to even unwrap a Marijuana-infused product or plant material in a public space. In retail spaces where smoking is prohibited the injunction against the consumption of Cannabis-related products is also prohibited.

However, given the increasing market penetration of CBD (a non-psychoactive component of Marijuana) products like gummies and gum even the enforcement of this ruling can be problematic for authorities. The expense of checking each edible would be prohibitive.

An interesting addendum to the ruling about the consumption of Marijuana products in public is that it is against the law to consume such products on Californian Federal Land. Those who consume such products in places like the San Francisco bay area, the Presidio or Alcatraz (a bit ironic) may be subject to hefty fines or even arrest.

It is also up to individual landlords and property management companies to forbid the consumption (or possession) of Marijuana-related products on those properties which are under their control.

Of course, Marijuana can also not be transported from California across state lines.

Only licensed retailers may legally sell Cannabis and related products. Interestingly this is proving a limiting factor for the industry. The black market for Marijuana continues to thrive. In part, this is due to high taxes on the legal product and the difficulty in obtaining licenses for legal retail. This forces users to turn to the black market as an alternative where licensed retailers are simply not within easy reach. The sale of the challenge is significant – it is anticipated that the illegal market will be worth $8.7 billion in 2019. That is twice the size of the legal market. This is a problem that those who supported California’s Proposition 64 which was passed in 2016 need to grapple with.

It is clear that supporters of Proposition, which legalized the growing and consumption of Cannabis for recreational use may need to revisit the statute books. Let us hope that happens speedily. It is clear that the law is in urgent need of revision.