Marijuana legalization arrives in California!


Last update: November 9, 2016


On Election Day, November 8, voters across the country ushered in a historic wave of marijuana policy reform victories, including California’s adoption of Amendment 64, also known as the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA). AUMA ends marijuana prohibition in the Golden State and replaces it with a more sensible system that will regulate, tax, and treat marijuana similarly to alcohol.

State officials reported that 56% of voters adopted the measure, with 99% of precincts reporting. This historic step adds the country’s most populous state to the ranks of those that regulate and tax marijuana for use by adults 21 and over. Special thanks to coalition members and all those who supported this landmark initiative.

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The current legal status of marijuana in California


Until the Election Day vote this year, possessing up to an ounce or less of marijuana was a civil infraction similar to a speeding ticket. Following the vote, possession of an ounce or less and the secure cultivation of up to six plants is lawful for all adults 21 and over.

While California had already reduced penalties before the vote, the state still punished tens of thousands of responsible adults each year for possessing a substance that is objectively safer than both alcohol and tobacco. A study released by the Drug Policy Foundation reported that despite the reduction in penalties, state law enforcement still arrested over half a million people in the past 10 years on marijuana-related charges, a huge number of which are minorities.

Now, California can stop wasting precious resources on citing, arresting, and prosecuting marijuana offenders, while ensuring the profits of marijuana sales go to responsible businesses and state budgets, instead of the pockets of criminals! Prop. 64 should be fully implemented by 2018.

At the same time, the state’s medical marijuana protections continue, and a regulatory system is being implemented for medical marijuana businesses. According to the state tax board, under Prop. 64, patients with a state ID card will immediately be exempt from sales taxes.