Marijuana Legalization Lawyers
California Proposition 64

On November 9, 2016, Californians voted and approved Prop 64 which legalized the recreational use of marijuana. Prop 64 eliminated the criminal consequences for the personal possession and cultivation of marijuana by persons over 21 years of age. It also reduced the punishment for many marijuana offenses and allowed for reduced penalties of specific marijuana offenses for prior offenders.

What is Lawful Under Prop 64?

  • It permits adults ( 21 years or older ) to lawfully use, posses, transport, purchase, consume, or share up to 28.5 grams (1 ounce) of marijuana, and up to 8 grams of concentrated marijuana (Cannabis);
  • It permits adults (21 years or older) to grow and cultivate 6 marijuana plants in each residence as long as the plants are inside the residence and out of public view;
  • It permits the sale of marijuana by state licensed vendors only;
  • It permits persons previously convicted and sentenced of certain marijuana offenses to go back to court and get re-sentenced to obtain a reduced charge or lesser sentence.

What Is Unlawful Under Prop 64?

  • You may not consume or use marijuana in public. Using or consuming marijuana in public is an infraction (like a traffic ticket) that can be penalized with a $100 fine.
  • You cannot smoke or “vape” any marijuana product in any location that has been deemed a non-smoking location, such as restaurants and most businesses. Smoking marijuana within 1000 feet of a school, day care or youth center (while children are present) are also prohibited.
  • Possessing marijuana in an open container, or using marijuana, while operating a vehicle or sitting within a moving vehicle.
  • Anyone under the age of 21 caught with less than one ounce of concentrated marijuana (cannabis) is subject to a $100.00 fine. If the person is under 18 years of age, they are subject to mandatory drug counseling or community service as well as a $100.00 fine.
  • You cannot produce a marijuana product using a “volatile solvent” – essentially bars the production of any cannabis drug with unnatural additives.
  • It remains illegal to purchase marijuana products without a medical prescription until 2018.
  • Possession of more than 28.5 grams (1 ounce) of marijuana.

New Penalties Under Prop 64 For Marijuana Offenses

Prop 64 reduced the penalties for certain marijuana offenses. For example:

  • Possession of up to 28.5 grams of marijuana was previously charged as an infraction under Health & Safety Code 11357. Under Prop 64 it is now legal for adults 21 years and older;
  • Possession of more than 28.5 grams (1 ounce) of marijuana was previously a misdemeanor (Health & Safety Code 11357) punishable by up to 6 months in county jail and/or a $500.00 fine. After Prop 64, it is still the same – a misdemeanor. For juveniles (under 18) it was previously charged as a misdemeanor with a maximum of 6 months in county jail. After Prop 64, the first offense is an infraction with 8 hours of drug counseling and up to 40 hours of community service. With any additional infractions, there is 10 hours of drug education and up to 60 hours of community service.
  • Possession of up to 4 grams of Concentrated Marijuana (Cannabis) was previously charged as a misdemeanor under Health & Safety Code 11357 punishable by up to 1 year in county jail. After Prop 64 it is now legal for adults 21 years and older to possess up to 8 grams of Cannabis. Possessing more than 8 grams is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in county jail and a fine of $500;
  • Possession with Intent to Sell Marijuana (Health & Safety Code 11359) was previously prosecuted as a felony punishable by up to 3 years in prison. After the passage of Prop 64 it is now a misdemeanor for most adults 21 years and older. The penalties as a misdemeanor are up to 6 months in county jail and a $500.00 fine. However, marijuana possession for sale can still be charged as a felony for those adults who have two prior misdemeanor convictions for marijuana possession for sale; or the marijuana for sale was intended for persons under 18 years of age; or the person selling the marijuana has a prior serious felony (strike) conviction. The maximum penalty for a felony is 16 months to 3 years in prison.
  • Sales of Marijuana (Health & Safety Code 11360) was previously charged as a felony with a maximum sentence of 4 years in state prison. Under Prop 64, it is now a misdemeanor for adults 18 and older with a maximum sentence of 6 months in county jail. It can be charged as a felony if the adult has a prior “strike;” has two prior convictions for sales; or if the sale or attempted sale was to a person under 18 years of age.
  • Cultivation of Marijuana (Health & Safety Code 11358) of 6 marijuana plants or less was previously charged as a felony punishable by up to 3 years in prison. Under Prop 64, it is legal for adults 21 years and older to cultivate 6 plants or less. It is an infraction for persons 18 to 20 years of age that comes with a $100.00 fine.
  • Cultivation of more than 6 Marijuana Plants (Health & Safety Code 11358) was previously charged as a felony. After Prop 64, it is charged as a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in county jail with a $500 fine;
  • Transportation, Distribution, or Importing of marijuana (Health & Safety Code 11360) was a felony prior to Prop 64. After Prop 64, it is a misdemeanor for most adults punishable by up to 6 months in county jail and a fine. However, transportation of marijuana will still be a felony for those adults transporting the marijuana who have a prior “strike” conviction; have two or more prior convictions for transportation or sale of marijuana; or have previously attempted to sell or furnish marijuana to a minor (under 18 years of age); or who have previously transported or attempted to transport more than an ounce of marijuana or more than 4 grams of concentrated marijuana.
  • Prop 64 also created Health & Safety Code section 11362.3 which enumerates various public uses of marijuana which are all infractions. These infractions are subject to fines from $150 to $250. These infractions include: Smoking in public; smoking within 1000 feet of a school; day care or youth center; possess open container of marijuana while driving or riding in a vehicle.

Reduction & Expungment of Marijuana Offenses

Individuals with certain prior marijuana convictions are now eligible under Prop 64 to reduce their conviction from a felony to a misdemeanor and from a misdemeanor to an infraction through the expungment process. Prop 64 also allows defendants who are currently serving a sentence in jail or state prison to petition the original sentencing judge for a reduction or dismissal of the sentence and to be resentenced under the new Prop 64. In cases where the defendant has completed the sentence, he or she may request the court to reclassify the conviction as a misdemeanor or infraction and have the prior offense expunged or dismissed.

The eligible offenses for reduction and expungment include the following:

  • Health and Safety Code 11357 (Possession);
  • Health and Safety Code 11358 (Cultivation);
  • Health and Safety Code 11359 (Possession with intent to sell); and
  • Health and Safety Code11360 (Sales, Transportation, Giving away of marijuana to adults).

As experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys, we understand that having a drug conviction on your record can negatively impact your life. Employers, financial institutions, landlords, colleges/universities, former spouses, business associates and others can easily perform background checks that could put you and your future at risk. Additionally, having a drug conviction on your record could result in a harsher sentence if you were to pick up a new drug case.

At Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners, our Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys are well aware of the changes brought about by California Proposition 64. If you would like to see if you can have your charge or sentenced reduced, your probation terminated, old convictions reduced and expunged, or explore other ways to clean up your criminal record, please feel free to contact our team at your first opportunity. You can also schedule a free initial consultation by calling 213.481.6811.