In January 2019, final approval was passed for California’s permanent regulations regarding commercial cannabis, putting an end to the “emergency” rules which had been in temporary use. So, what should you know about California’s marijuana laws, and how do they impact on you? Here, we take a look at the important facts.
Delivery For Everybody
Good news for everyone aged over 21 in California who wants to get their hands on legal cannabis – official codes have now been put in place to ensure that even people living in “ban towns” can access tested and taxed cannabis legally. Interestingly, this makes California unique among other legalized states, none of which have statewide delivery services. This isn’t just good news for people who live in ban towns, it’s also great news for all consumers who want the best value for money. Statewide delivery services mean that consumers can easily compare quality and prices among all the deliverers instead of being restricted to just their local stores.
Even if child-resistant packaging on your cannabis products is driving you mad, you’re going to have to put up with it. The laws have said that it’s here in the long-term. The rules have stipulated that children must be kept away from cannabis, with the absolutely minimum being an opaque zip-lock exit bag. Although THC infused candy bars and other individual products don’t have to be child-resistant yet, that’s on its way too by 1st January 2020.
Strict Lab Testing
Cannabis users in California can rest assured that there are extremely rigorous regulations in place for purity and labelling standards. Edibles must be tightly dosed, extracts must be extremely pure and flower has to be clean in order to be legally sold in the state. While this does add more costs, it also ensures safety for users, which has to be a good thing. As of 1st January 2019 even tighter rules on testing were brought into place regarding toxins and heavy metals. These ensure even better protection for users when buying cannabis products in the state.
No Relief For State Taxes
Unfortunately, tax reform still hasn’t been brought in for cannabis consumers in California. Local and state taxes on cannabis are running around 40% higher than the prices on the black market but as yet, state legislature isn’t going to curtail the taxes and bring prices down. Although with more cities competing for customers there have been signs of declining local excise and sales tax rates with some rural cities in Southern California even advertising 0% excise taxes in an attempt to attract more industry.
A Cash-Only Industry
The final California cannabis regulations still haven’t fixed the banking problem. Unfortunately, cannabis consumers in the state are still only able to pay for their purchases in cash or use an ATM-at-the-register payment system with high fees. Unfortunately, that’s not likely to change soon since the national banks system remains controlled by the US Treasury and as cannabis is still federally illegal nothing will change until cannabis becomes federally legal. At the moment, although there has been talk about California’s big cities launching cannabis banks of their own, this hasn’t happened yet, so it remains a cash-only industry for the present.
Increased Equity Licensing
California’s final rules ensure that the BCC can focus more effectively on the implementation of its $10 equity grant program around the state’s cities and towns. That means this year will see even more cannabis events, product launches and store openings now that the final rules have given those operating within California’s cannabis industry more certainty. For those working in the sector, it’s especially good news because more investors will be encouraged to capitalize on existing businesses and to create brand new ones.
More Data Protection
Naturally, many consumers are worrying about giving their personal data to companies selling cannabis products, however with the final rules that have now been passed, it’s now possible to order cannabis products with a lot more anonymity. In fact, shopping in stores for cannabis products is set to become more like visiting a convenience store rather than going to a hospital. Whereas in the past retailers were required by law to record the names of their customers, the changes in the rules have meant that, while dispensaries can choose to record this information, there is now no legal requirement to do so. Of course, dispensaries are still required to check identification to ensure that consumers are aged over 21. There are maximum limits placed on cannabis purchases per person so that trafficking can be combated.
The laws surrounding transportation of cannabis in the state are similar to those regarding transportation of alcohol. No products can be within the driver’s reach and no open containers are permitted, even for a passenger in the vehicle No more than 28.5g of flower and 8g of cannabis concentrate can be moved at any one time and the containers must be childproof (see the regulation outlined above). It’s illegal to smoke a joint or pipe or vape cannabis in any moving vehicle and driving under the influence remains entirely illegal. In fact the recent law changes have led to even more police on the roads and even more strict enforcement of the canna-DUI laws with jail sentences, fines and suspended licenses the penalty for breaking them. It also remains illegal to transport cannabis products out of the state, regardless of packaging, transportation method, amount, or whether you’re traveling to a legal state.
Just like tobacco and alcohol, the cannabis laws in California forbid use in any public place or any place where smoking tobacco is prohibited. It’s also illegal to use cannabis within 1000 feet of a daycare center, youth center or school. You are, on the other hand, permitted to use cannabis in your own private residence or that of a friend, in any accessory structure like a shed or garage, or in the backyard of any private residence as long as outdoor use hasn’t been prohibited by that county or city.
Although some of these laws aren’t as liberal as many users would like, over time they may be relaxed further, and for now, many of them are simply in place for public protection. With penalties for breaking them remaining punitive, it makes sense to adhere to state laws for the greater good.