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Here Are 5 Things You Should Know About Recreational Marijuana in Sonoma County

Individuals who have a recommendation for medical marijuana won’t see a big difference in how Prop 64 affects their cannabis use, but those who don’t have a card may be curious about the new laws, and how and where they’ll be able to purchase marijuana for recreational use.

Prop 64 does immediately have far reaching affects, such as essentially eliminating criminal penalties for adult personal use of marijuana, as well as allowing those currently in prison for marijuana-related crimes to petition to have their sentence reduced. This doesn’t mean that people won’t still be charged for marijuana-related offenses, such as carrying more than the allowed amount or selling to a minor, but people don’t need to worry if they’re pulled over and have a joint in their pocket. It was also recently announced that due to a glitch in the law, medical marijuana buyers won’t be paying tax on their weed until 2018.

But as for people just looking to find out what this means to them in an everyday sense, here are five facts about Prop 64 and what its passage means for Sonoma County:

  1. You won’t be able to walk into a regular store and buy marijuana anytime soon.

Businesses who want to start selling recreational marijuana will need to apply for new licenses, and the state has up to a year to issue them. Even dispensaries for medical marijuana must apply for a new license stating their intent to sell marijuana for recreational use. According to Business Insider, “The Bureau of Marijuana Control has until January 1, 2018, to begin issuing those licenses.”

  1. If you have a medical recommendation, you can now purchase cannabis as a ‘gift’ for a friend who doesn’t have one, and can’t yet enter a dispensary.

While dispensaries have upheld strict rules about not selling to anyone who states they’re ‘buying for a friend’, that ban is now lifted. Again, Business Insider states that “Proposition 64 allows adults to walk around in public with up to an ounce of marijuana, enough to fill a sandwich baggy. They can also “gift” an ounce to another adult 21 years of age or older.” So the next time your bestie hands you some money and wants you to pick something up for them, you can be upfront about it.

  1. Just because it’s legal now doesn’t mean you can imbibe in public.

According to California NORML, it remains illegal to smoke or eat edibles in public – unless allowed by a local ordinance, or within 1,000 feet of schools, daycare centers, and other places where children gather. Despite what conservatives may have thought, there won’t be sidewalks filled with people carrying bongs around.

  1. Marijuana manufacturing is no longer banned in Sonoma County.

Marijuana manufacturing used to be banned in all of Sonoma County,  but the current regulations now state that: “Only nonvolatile cannabis manufacturing will be allowed Sonoma County, and cannabis manufacturing will only be permitted in industrial zones.”

  1. You can now grow up to 6 plants for personal, recreational use.

Under recreational marijuana legalization, adults 21 and over may cultivate up to 6 marijuana plants for their personal use. However, if you grow more than six plants you can be charged with a misdemeanor and face up to six months in county jail and/or a fine of up to $500.  So if you have a green thumb, and want to give growing your own cannabis a try, no one will cite you for it as long as you stay within the limits. Sidenote: marijuana plants are very fragrant, if you’re thinking of growing in your yard, you may want to speak with your neighbors about your plans – especially if they have small children or animals who may wander onto your property.