While California was the first to make medicinal marijuana legal back in 1996, it was the fifth state in the country to legalize recreational pot. Now, those who just want to smoke every now and then can, as they might have a glass of wine. But when the vote came in on Proposition 64 in November 2016, there were still some questions left.
One of those was how much marijuana a person can legally possess in California.
As marijuana laws continue to change and develop in California, understanding what constitutes as Marijuana DUI can be difficult. How do police officers legally determine if a driving is under the influence of marijuana, let alone other drugs? While officers have more proven methods to determine alcohol impairment—standardized field sobriety tests, breathalyzers, blood tests, and a set BAC amount— determining impairment due to marijuana is not as defined.
Recent coverage of California's Proposition 47 has left a confusing image in some people's minds. An article in the Washington Post highlighted the life of one man who has been in and out of jail multiple times over the last few months, only to be released for misdemeanor offenses.
Under Prop 47, six low-level offenses were reduced to misdemeanors in California to help limit incarceration for minor crimes and reduce jail crowding. While the article attributes his in and out jail habits to the new change in policy, law enforcement individuals note that repeated drug offenders come in and out of the system is actually a common issue that has existed prior to any changes.
As you may know, attitudes about the medicinal and recreational use of marijuana are changing throughout the United States. While a number of states have recognized the medicinal benefits of cannabis, most still uphold strict laws against the possession and/or use of this drug. Fortunately for California residents, the penalties for marijuana possession in this state are not quite as severe as those imposed in other parts of the country. Even so, you should not take these charges lightly. Depending on the type and amount of marijuana that is discovered in your possession, you could either be slapped with an infraction or charged with a serious criminal offense. This will be decided as follows: