On November 8, 2016, Prop 64 was passed by the state of California, thereby legalizing the possession and cultivation of recreational marijuana for those 21 and older. Great, now what does this mean to to medical marijuana patients? Can adults now smoke wherever they want, whenever they want? When can one begin smoking marijuana anyway? Read on for all of these answers and more. 

Medical Marijuana Patients

There are several protections in place under Proposition 64 that are aimed to support and benefit medical marijuana patients, thereby making their experience different from adult use consumers. For starters, patients that possess a government issued ID card will reap the benefits of skipping the state sales tax when paying for their medicinal cannabis. They will still be required to pay the 15% tax that was enforced by Prop 64, plus any additional cultivation tax and/or regulatory compliance dollar amount that they might get factored into the cost. However, the overall intention is to make medical marijuana as affordable as possible for those who are using it to treat their conditions and ailments assessed and verified by a physician. 

In addition, marijuana patients will be able to enjoy having their fees capped at $100 when they acquire optional identification cards that specify their patient status. This in contrast to the $150 to $175 charged by many counties. Also, under the Confidentiality of Medical Information Act, all card data will be protected and secured for patients. 

Furthermore, Prop 64 helps to reduce the penalties for many crimes that involve marijuana by applying the changes retroactively. This can potentially lead to new sentencing and even record clearing for individuals who have benefited from and/or worked for the medical cannabis industry. The bill also states that cannabis use alone shall not be used to restrict or hinder on custody rights for patients who are complying with state law.

In conclusion, in California, who proudly possesses the sixth largest economy in the world, economic and financial experts are already predicting that these protections will inevitably lead to a giant boost in access for medical marijuana patients throughout the entire United States.

Registering with the State as a Patient

The Medical Marijuana Identification Card Program, otherwise referred to as the MMICP, was created for two primary reasons: 1) In an effort to have a state authorized medical marijuana ID card, and 2) To have an online registry database of qualified patients that have been assessed and approved by their primary physicians. 

You may be wondering if medical marijuana patients are required to register with the state, and the answer is no. Participation in the identification card program by both patients and doctors is completely voluntary. However, patients might want to consider registering nonetheless, as the registry enables the public and law enforcement to confirm that one is in fact a qualified patient who can therefore legally possess, utilize and grow medical marijuana. For more information about the web-based verification system, visit http://mmic.cdph.ca.gov

Where You Can Smoke Marijuana

One of the commonly asked questions is whether adults can now legally smoke cannabis wherever they choose. While the use of recreational marijuana has been legalized for adults in small amounts, you won't be able to light up just anywhere. Prop 64 states that cannabis can still not be smoked in public places. That is, unless it has been deemed legal by a local ordnance.

There are a few rules of thumb you must follow before you choose to consume: 1) You are not permitted to smoke cannabis within 1,000 feet of a school, day care or youth center when children are present on the premises. The only exception is if you are located within your private residence. 2) Driving any kind of heavy machinery - from a motor vehicle to a boat, is strictly prohibited. 3) Cannabis is not allowed to be smoked in any place where the state law has already prohibited smoking and the use of tobacco. This includes theaters, restaurants and aircrafts. 

The Legal Age to Purchase Recreational Marijuana

The Adult Use of Marijuana Act dictates that only those 21 years and older are legally allowed to possess, purchase and transport up to 28.5 grams of marijuana for recreational use.  Selling or distributing to minors is considered a felony and will incur consequences, including a fee and possibly a prison sentence.