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What You Need to Know About California Prop 64

Los Angeles DUI Attorney Jon ArtzWith the recent passage of California Proposition 64 which permits the recreational use of marijuana, many questions have arisen in regard to the specifics of the law. Can you drive with marijuana in your vehicle? What if you get pulled over while intoxicated? Understanding the full scope of Prop 64 is essential to the avoidance of a serious moving violation in California.

Permitted Actions

Upon approval by popular vote on November 8, 2016, Prop 64 took effect immediately. The law now states Californians can smoke privately in their homes. Unlike the previous law which dictated usage only for medicinal purposes, Prop 64 allows for recreational use. Individuals can possess up to an ounce of marijuana and grow up to six plants in a private residence. Furthermore, marijuana can be given to other adults in quantities up to one ounce — a crucial distinction when considering “intent to distribute” penalties under the law.

Prohibited Actions

Californians are not permitted to smoke marijuana while operating a vehicle nor are they allowed to smoke in any public place not licensed to allow for the consumption of marijuana. Additionally, the same laws apply to marijuana smoke in areas that prohibit tobacco usage. Residents cannot possess marijuana near schools or places where children are present and they cannot grow plants in any space visible to the public. As for the sharing of marijuana, it is not lawful to distribute to individuals under the age of 21.

Marijuana and Traffic Laws: The Gray Area

Perhaps the biggest argument against Prop 64 was the danger of mixing marijuana and driving. Unlike alcohol detection devices like the breathalyzer, no such method exists to detect the presence of THC. While it will be some time until lawmakers understand the repercussions of Prop 64 in relation to DUI cases, some studies suggest an increase in marijuana related accidents in states like Colorado where marijuana has been legal since 2012. The validity of such claims has been called into question due to the lack of DUI standards regarding both the testing method and consumption threshold.

What Prop 64 Means for California Drivers

Regardless of the ambiguous fine print, Prop 64 should not be regarded as a legal free for all. Moving violations that include the use of marijuana can still result in a DUI arrest and it will be up to the driver to prove innocence. For example, if a police officer pulls you over for driving below the speed limit (a common indicator of intoxication) and smells marijuana, he or she will have probable cause for a search. If you are in possession of over one gram of marijuana, you would be in violation of the law. The same logic would apply in cases where the driver had one or two beers in addition to smoking. What might normally pass for being “under the legal limit” could now be a discretionary call by the officer as to “under the influence” of alcohol and/or drugs. The best course of action would be to limit marijuana storage and usage to your home. Understand the effects of different strains and also the potency of edibles which can mistakenly result in overuse. Don’t drive high as impairment can have similar effects as alcohol like decreased response time.

California drivers who face charges resulting in marijuana-related tickets and accidents should consult an experienced DUI attorney. While marijuana and alcohol consumption are now equal under California law, the repercussions of partaking and driving on public roads can be different.

Contact Jon Artz today at 310-820-1315.

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