Well, that didn't go so well, did it?
A lot of the country, apparently, does not see things the way most people in this state do. California, the most populous state in the nation, went for Hillary Clinton by a ratio of almost 2-to-1. In the Bay Area, the difference was much greater. In San Francisco, for instance, the current tally gives Clinton 84 percent of the vote, compared with 10 percent for Trump.
Conveniently, however, the surprise victory of Donald Trump is concurrent with an event that many may view as just what the doctor -- who is no longer needed -- ordered. Californians have approved the use of recreational marijuana. (And if you're a Republican, maybe you want to celebrate.)
However .... beware! Some, but not all, parts of the new law take effect immediately. Some things to keep in mind before lighting up today:
- Adults 21 and older are immediately allowed to possess 28.5 grams (about an ounce) of pot ; 8 grams if it's concentrated, as in hash. You can also give these amounts away.
- An individual is also immediately allowed to grow up to six marijuana plants within a private home. The area must be locked and not publicly visible.
- It is still illegal to smoke marijuana while driving, anywhere in public or where smoking tobacco is prohibited.
- California has until Jan. 1, 2018, to begin issuing licenses for recreational retailers to sell non-medical marijuana. So you won't be able to buy pot at a store for a while. Selling marijuana without a license would be a crime "generally punishable" by up to six months in county jail (reduced from up to four years) and/or a fine of up to $500. A potential civil penalty of up to three times the amount of a license fee would also apply.
- Those businesses will be generally prohibited from operating within 600 feet of a school, day care center or youth center. (Though local governments can override this.)
- State-licensed, non-medical marijuana retailers will not be allowed to sell tobacco or alcohol. It will be up to local governments to decide whether on-site consumption of marijuana will be allowed in retail establishments.
- If you're under 18, possession of one ounce or less of marijuana will no longer be punishable by a $100 fine. Instead, it's punishable by a requirement to attend a drug education or counseling program, which will probably be the longest hours of your life, so keep that in mind.
Also, we'd be remiss if we didn't add: The state may be down with smoking weed, but it's still illegal under federal law. There's nothing that says the coming change of administration can't result in a switch from the current hands-off federal policy on enforcing federal pot laws. At a rally last week, Trump seemed to soften from a harder stance he'd previously taken.
"Marijuana is such a big thing," the Washington Post quotes Trump as saying, in true Trumpian fashion. "I think medical should happen -- right? Don't we agree? I think so. And then I really believe we should leave it up to the states."
But that statement is probably nothing to hang your pipe on. So who knows.
For the visually inclined, here's the breakdown of California penalties in a table form:
Prop. 64 also includes new taxes on growing and selling that apply to both medical and recreational marijuana. See chart below for more information.