What Prop 64 Means for You

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As Californians cast their votes for the next President of the United States, they also made decisions on several different state and local issues. One such measure was Proposition 64, which would change marijuana laws. The proposal passed with over 56 percent of the vote, making California the fifth state to legalize marijuana for recreational use.

Before the vote, marijuana was only legal for those who had a legitimate medical reason to use it. This had led to a massive boom in medical marijuana dispensaries opening up all over the state. While many patients had seen the benefits of being able to use weed to treat their maladies, the restricted use had led to a sort of black market on California’s streets. Because of this, and for other reasons, Proposition 64, a.k.a. The “Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act,” was brought forward.

Other states have legalized marijuana for recreational use, to great effect — an encouraging sign for California. Jails have been slowly emptying, as cells are no longer being occupied by those arrested for using weed. Their economies have also benefited. For instance, Colorado’s economy got a $700 million boost in 2014, the year they legalized weed. That equated to $63 million in tax revenue. Here’s what the legalization of recreational marijuana means, from a legal standpoint, for Californians.

What Prop 64 Will Do

In short, Prop 64 will allow adults over the age of 21 to cultivate, buy, possess and use marijuana legally. In addition, two new taxes will be established: one on sales, and one on cultivation. Revenue from these taxes will be used to ensure the laws are enforced, as well as for research, treatment and youth programs, among other things. The law will regulate where marijuana could be smoked. Specifically, users could imbibe in their own homes and in private businesses. It will still be illegal to smoke in public, while driving and everywhere tobacco use is outlawed.

For anyone wanting to sell marijuana, they will be required to acquire a state license, as well as any required local licenses. Dispensaries must not operate within 600 feet of a school, youth center or day care center. Large-scale operations will be required to wait five years to obtain a license to prevent any sort of monopolization.

Finally, the penalties for unauthorized use of marijuana will be reduced to keep small-time offenders out of jail. Illegal users will be required to complete community service, as well as a drug education and/or counseling program. Illegal sales could result in 6 months in jail and/or a $500 fine. Those who are currently in jail for offenses that are made legal under Prop 64 will be eligible for resentencing.

What Charges Can Be Dismissed?

A person seeking a reduction or dismissal under Prop 64 is presumed to be eligible, and the prosecutor must present “clear and convincing evidence” to rebut the presumption. If a conviction was a result of a plea bargain in which some charges were dismissed, and that conviction is subject to Prop 64, the dismissed charges cannot be refiled.

Prop 64 offers two types of dismissals. For those people currently serving a sentence, which will includes people on probation, parole or some other kind of supervision, they can seek dismissal of the sentence. The bill explicitly refers to it as “dismissal of sentence,” which implies that the conviction remains. On the other hand, for those people who have completed a sentence, they can have their convictions “dismissed and sealed.”

The following offenses could be dismissed under Prop 64:

  • Possession of less than 8 grams of concentrated cannabis (HSC11357(a))
  • Possession of less than 28.5 grams of marijuana (HSC11357(b))
  • Possession of less than 28.5 grams of marijuana (HSC11358)
  • Possession of less than 6 plants within private residence (HSC11358)
  • Transportation of less than 28.5 grams of marijuana or less than 8 grams of concentrated cannabis (HSC11360)
  • Giving away less than 28.5 grams of marijuana or less than 8 grams of concentrated cannabis (HSC11360)

What Charges Can Be Reduced?

For some charges, a total dismissal is not possible. But, they can be reduced — for instance, from a felony to a misdemeanor.

Reduction to a Misdemeanor

  • The planting, cultivation, harvest, drying or processing of more than 6 plants by an adult (HSC11358)
  • The illegal sale of marijuana (HSC11359)
  • Transporting for sale or giving away less than 28.5 grams of marijuana or 8 grams of concentrated cannabis (HSC11360)

A reduction from a felony to a misdemeanor under Proposition 64 could also restore gun rights.

Reduction to an Infraction

  • The planting, cultivation, harvest, drying or processing of less than 6 plants for personal use, but either visible to public and/or not in locked space (HSC11358)
  • The planting, cultivation, harvest, drying or processing of more than 6 plants by someone under 18 (HSC11358)
  • The planting, cultivation, harvest, drying or processing of more than 6 plants by someone over 18 but under 21 (HSC11358)

No Reduction

  • Possession of more than 28.5 grams of marijuana (HSC11357(c))
  • Possession of more than 8 grams of concentrated cannabis (HSC11357(a))
  • Illegally opening a dispensary (HSC11366)
  • Knowingly renting a space to someone for the purpose of illegal growth, cultivation or sale of marijuana (HSC11366.5)

Because Proposition 64 is so new, only time will tell what parts of the new law the courts will strictly adhere to, and where leeway can be found. If your offense was not listed in this blog, there still may be hope to have your charges reduced or dropped. If you have previous marijuana charges in California, contact MBLK Law Firm today. During your free initial consultation, we will review your case and help you explore your legal options, including whether or not you are qualified or a less severe sentence.

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