Last November, California voters approved Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA), which legalized some recreational uses of marijuana for adults. Since the law passed, many people have become confused about exactly where the line is between legal and illegal, sometimes mixing up medical marijuana regulations with recreational marijuana regulations.
Right now in Sacramento, the Governor’s Office and State Legislature are working to find common ground between medical marijuana laws and Proposition 64’s AUMA; but until they’ve reconciled the two, we must continue to use the laws that are currently in place regarding marijuana use and cultivation, as our guide.
Let’s start with cultivation. As the weather warms up, some of you might be considering growing marijuana, and it’s important to know how to do so legally.
The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors is currently working to adopt new cultivation regulations in response to AUMA. You can find the latest information about these regulations and the existing laws about cultivation on the county website (http://co.mendocino.ca.us) under the tabs labeled “Cannabis” and “Medical Cannabis Cultivation Ordinance.”
If you live within Ukiah’s city limits, it’s important to remember that the City currently prohibits outdoor marijuana cultivation. To remain within the provisions of Ukiah’s ordinance, a person must cultivate marijuana within a “fully enclosed and secure structure” with only 12 mature plants or 24 immature plants at any given time.
Regardless of whether you live in Ukiah or other parts of the County, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) created changes you should be aware of:
It is now legal for an adult (21 years or older) to possess, transport or give another adult no more than 1 ounce of marijuana or 8 grams of concentrated cannabis.
An adult can now grow up to 6 plants at his or her residence and keep the marijuana produced by those plants. Remember, if you live in Ukiah’s City Limits, those plants must be grown inside an enclosed and secure structure and you’re limited to 12 medicinal plants per parcel. If you live in the County, be sure you comply with current Mendocino County ordinances.
Legal retail sales of recreational marijuana to adults will not begin until sometime after January 1, 2018.
Even with the changes above, some things remain illegal:
It is illegal to consume marijuana in a public place, and a violation is considered an infraction with a $100 fine. (In the future, licensed establishments will be permitted to allow onsite consumption.)
It is illegal to smoke or vaporize marijuana within any non-smoking area, or within 1,000 feet of a school, daycare or youth center while children are present—except at a private residence—and a violation is an infraction with a $250 fine.
It is illegal to consume marijuana or possess an “open container” while driving or as a passenger within a vehicle, boat, or airplane. A violation is an infraction with a $250 fine.
It is illegal to manufacture concentrated cannabis with volatile solvents, except for state licensed manufacturers.
It is illegal for anyone under 21 to use, possess, transport, or cultivate marijuana, and a violation is subject to a $100 fine; or drug counseling and community service for those under 18.
It is illegal to possess more than one ounce of marijuana and a violation is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 6 months in jail and up to a $500 fine.
If you’re a renter, landlords can still forbid the possession or use of marijuana on their property, and employers can prohibit marijuana use by their employees.
Finally, I have to say, PLEASE be careful with the use of marijuana. It is still against the law to use marijuana and then drive. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention marijuana use is increasing and 13% of nighttime, weekend drivers have marijuana in their system.
Please don’t drink – or use drugs – and drive; our lives depend upon it.
As always, our mission at UPD is simple: to make Ukiah as safe as possible. If you have any suggestions or comments about how we can improve, please feel free to call me, complete our online survey, or leave a crime tip on our website: www.ukiahpolice.com.