This article serves merely as an introduction to the new proposed cannabis regulations; it’s not intended to offer any legal advice or serve as a replacement for legal counsel. Additionally, the information pertains to emergency regulations that are still developing and could change over the next few weeks. Anyone seeking to start a cannabis businesses or has questions about personal consumption and/or cultivation should seek a licensed attorney.
If you’re wondering where you can buy weed legally on January 1, 2018, you aren’t alone. It turns out that very few California areas are choosing to allow legal cannabis sales, so it may be harder than you thought to find a recreational shop. Even if you’re lucky enough to live near one, you’ll find the weed will be more expensive.
So how will the new proposed regulations (beware they’re long) affect you and your wallet?
Record keeping requirements (defined on page 57) involve:
- The first name of the customer.
- A special number assigned to the customer.
- What he/she bought.
- When he/she bought.
- How much he/she bought.
- How much he/she paid.
The assumption is this info will be used to track whether you’re buying or carrying more than the legally allowed amount. By doing so the government can prevent the criminal sale of cannabis, a likely scenario considering the vast areas banning legal sales.
There are very strict limits on how much recreational weed users can obtain. You can purchase and transport up to 28.5 grams (an ounce) of flower or 8 grams of concentrate at a time for personal use. Larger amounts will be subject to criminal penalty.
This probably won’t affect the casual user. It won’t prove to be much of a hardship, even for those who must drive long distances because of local bans. On the other hand, this could prove rough on some medical users attempting to fly under the radar to avoid potentially negative consequences of being a cannabis patient.
There are numerous benefits to having your medical marijuana recommendation in 2018.
- A lower age limit of 18, not 21 like all recreational users.
- MMJ patients can walk-in and/or order from more than 1,000 dispensaries now; plus there’s a wider array of quality cannabis products to enjoy.
- A recommendation permits the possession and transportation of medical cannabis without fear of legal reprisal.
- Recreational users will pay up to a 45% tax in state and local fees. Medical cannabis patients are exempt, though they’ll pay a small tax come January. Until then, medical cannabis is tax-free.
- Cannabis patients are allowed to carry up to eight ounces at a time. Otherwise, it’d be more likely authorities would assume you’re engaging in illegal sales, even with a rec.
Get your medical recommendation and/or ID card quickly, easily and professionally with NuggMD, the leading telemedicine platform. The process is fast, affordable, and easy to use. Sign up online and in about fifteen minutes you can become a cannabis patient. Your medical recommendation is only $39.
After getting your NuggMD recommendation, you’ll need to go through the state’s medical marijuana program to receive your official ID card. It’ll cost about $100 and $50 for Medi-Cal patients. You’ll have to submit your application in-person at your local county program location, which has 30 days to validate it.
If you spend more than $100 a month on cannabis, it makes fiscal sense to spend the $139 to renew your existing MMJ rec and get a state-issued ID card instead of paying the sales tax.
Some jurisdictions are choosing to ban medical marijuana deliveries. Prop 64 permits them, though it doesn’t allow local roads to be closed off to delivery drivers. This means delivery drivers can use these roads, but only for traveling through a city or county with a delivery ban. They can’t deliver in the city or county itself.
Unfortunately, a backlash has been taking place in several conservative districts, citing concerns over crime and child use. The lack of delivery leaves traveling to a storefront dispensary as the only option for patients or their caregivers if they’re unable to grow their own medical cannabis.
Fortunately, very few districts are choosing ban MMJ delivery; however it’s still a good idea to check your local ordinances and see what’ll be allowed. Your local city council, planning department or county board should be able to answer this question quickly.
Nugg, California’s largest online cannabis marketplace, provides medical cannabis delivery across the state. Just enter your address to get a list of local dispensaries that’ll deliver MMJ products to your door in about an hour. Even compare prices, discover new products, and read reviews before ordering.
Remember, if a delivery service like Nugg is prohibited in your area, don’t try to entice anyone to illegally deliver your product or ask a friend to get it. That might be tempting, especially if you’re in medical need, but the penalties are steep fines and possible criminal charges. Ultimately, local governments must be forced to consider the situation reasonably and compassionately—or be replaced.
Simply lighting up on the street will likely result in a fine. Most local zoning ordinances control where you can smoke marijuana, and most will forbid public consumption (see Health and Safety Code 11362.3). If cigarettes are banned, joints are definitely out too. You can’t smoke near daycares, schools or other public areas where children gather.
You’re better off lighting up in the privacy of home or at a cannabis bar that allows on-site consumption. And don’t even think of lighting up in your car. You can and will get stopped for driving under the influence, and passengers who light up can land you in the hot seat too.
Absolutely; but whether you can grow it outdoors or only indoors is up to your local jurisdiction. The new proposed regulations don’t really address growing for personal use. But almost all local governments have developed or are developing local rules for personal cultivation.
These rules range from simple, allowing growing six plants outdoors with little regulation, to complex, requiring construction of separate, secure buildings with special fencing, locks, and strict environmental controls.
On the bright side, you won’t need a grower’s rec if you’re only planning to grow your legally allowed six plants. If you want more, you must sign up for a cultivator’s license or a microbusiness license. You could grow more if a doctor recommends it, but the new laws have closed many pre-Prop 64 loopholes. You should seek legal counsel before growing a significant amount (see Health and Safety Code 11362.77).
New proposed regulations don’t affect your ability to give away up to 28.5 grams of flower or up to eight grams of concentrate to adults 21 or older. There can be absolutely no compensation. However, don’t expect freebies from retailers anymore; giving away product to recreational users is strictly forbidden.
Trade shows and cannabis events will still be permitted, but the record keeping requirements will be just as stringent as any cannabis business. This includes records for composting or destroying cannabis, and documentation of all tracking and financial records for at least seven years.
Cannabis events will now be strictly limited to those 21 and over. A medical patient under this age is no exception. Alcohol and/or tobacco consumption will be strictly prohibited, so no cigarette breaks on show grounds. Free samples are also a no-go here, as they’d be subject to the same restrictions as all cannabis businesses.
In many cases, no. The Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch created their own set of emergency regulations requiring specific limits on product concentrations and shapes. Some food products are strictly prohibited, like cannabis-infused seafood (probably wise) and edibles that look like commercially available, kid-friendly candies.
The requirements for licensing certain types of products are so extensive that some businesses aren’t finding it financially feasible to continue (read more about them here).
These are by no means a summary of all the new regulations coming into effect. The three branches of California’s cannabis control are each proposing new regulations, along with environmental and water control agencies.
Here’s a list of the new regulations California’s cannabis community will need to become familiar with over the upcoming months:
- The MAUCRSA.
- The emergency proposed manufacturing regulations.
- New manufacturing instructions and fact sheets.
- The emergency proposed cultivation regulations (including the track and trace requirements).
- New cultivation instructions and fact sheets.
- Licensing information for all other business types (bottom of the page).