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Attorneys William R. Christoph & Nicholas W. Christoph

Californians legalize recreational Marijuana


While the legalization of pot is expected to be approved by California voters, some opposition is coming from an unlikely group – growers.

It has been 20 years since the state of California led the way in the U.S. by legalizing the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Since then, other states have legalized use of the drug for recreational purposes. This year, California joined them.

New York Magazine explains that 2016 is not the first time California voters had their say about legalizing pot. When faced with the option to do so six years ago, the result was against doing so. This year, the result was quite different.

Support weak among an unlikely group

However strong the support for legalizing pot is among some, a group of marijuana growers were actually hesitant to see this happen. While that may seem strange, understanding their reasons is important.

CBS News indicates that these growers tend to be small business owners who are highly concerned about the cost of taxes and other regulations related to conducting their businesses once marijuana is legalized. There is also fear about competition from large corporations. Together, these things could put some small business owners out of business.

The state’s proposal to help small business

PBS reports that part of Proposition 64 includes a five-year ban on licenses allowing mass production of marijuana. This would give smaller farms a chance to become established without the worry of larger operations moving in on their territories.

However, the tax implications for small operations could be real. California proposes that all pot sales would not only be subject to the standard sales tax but to an additional 15 percent pot tax.

Legalization also provides for Reducing or Dismissing prior Marijuana Convictions

There are a lot of provisions in the law and you should review so you know what is legal and what is not as well as other benefits if you have a marijuana related criminal record. The legalization of pot does not mean that there are no laws governing the growing, use or sale of pot, on the contrary, there are many and more will be enacted as local governments implement the law. For example, only people 21 and older are allowed to have or use marijuana. A maximum of one ounce of pot could be possessed by a person at one time. Criminal penalties are reduced or even eliminated in many cases.

As for recreational home growth of pot, a person would be allowed to grow a maximum of six plants. The plants must be kept in an enclosed, locked location not subject to public viewing.

It is important that Californians remember that criminal charges can still result related to marijuana use, growing, and sale as stated in the new law. Anyone who is facing criminal prosecution now or has a prior marijuana related conviction for pot-related charges before recreational marijuana was legalized should contact an attorney. Prop 64 not only legalizes recreational marijuana, but also provides for the dismissal or reduction of prior marijuana convictions, both misdemeanor and felony. Contact an attorney to see how this new law may affect you now and in the future.

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