Proposition 64 - Adult Use of Marijuana Act


The Adult Use of Marijuana Act is a 2016 voter initiative to legalize cannabis in California. The full name of the measure is the "Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act".

“When can I go into a store and buy marijuana?”

If you are not a medical marijuana patient, you can go into a store and buy marijuana some time after Jan. 1, 2018, the deadline for the state to begin issuing licenses.

“How can I get cannabis before then?”

Adults 21 and over can gift other adults up to one ounce of marijuana and can also grow up to 6 plants in their residence or outside in an enclosed structure like a greenhouse.

“What is cannabis? What is one ‘dose’?”

Cannabis is a botanical drug substance that primarily exists as the dried flower buds from unfertilized female plants. One ‘dose’ of cannabis can start at 2.5 milligrams of THC — the main active ingredient in cannabis — for people with no tolerance to the drug. A standard dose in Colorado is measured as 10 mgs. In California, 10 mg of THC will be considered one dose as well. One dose of cannabis can be equivalent to a quick draw and inhalation from a lit cannabis cigarette, followed by a few seconds of holding it in the lungs, followed by exhalation. Onset of effects from smoked cannabis is usually a few seconds.

Cannabis in edible form is much harder to titrate. Medical marijuana edibles are often labeled with the amount of THC in milligrams present in the food item. So for a 50 milligram THC brownie, one dose would be as much as one fifth of the brownie, or as little as one twentieth. Onset of effects from eating cannabis is much longer, and can take as long as two hours for the first effects to be felt. Do not eat more THC while waiting for effects to begin.

“What is the history of marijuana law in California?”

Californians legalized cannabis for adults 21 and over on Tuesday, Nov. 8, ending more than 100 years of the plant’s criminalization.

In 1996, Californians approved of medical defenses against prosecution for certain marijuana crimes. In 2004, lawmakers passed the Medical Marijuana Program Act, which created identification cards for medical pot patients, as well as collective defenses against prosecution that gave rise to dispensaries — legal medical marijuana shops. In 2015, lawmakers moved to regulate medical cannabis from seed to sale with the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act, which establishes state-level regulation and licensing for medical cannabis.

“Are pot DUIs going to spike?”

California has had medical cannabis for 20 years and wide availability of marijuana for decades. California also has a mileage death rate than the country as a whole (.91 vs. 1.22). Proposition 64 continues to prohibit driving a vehicle under the influence of THC. In other legalization states, there is no concrete evidence that driving under the influence of marijuana has increased, though there have been increases in funding and establishment of methods for testing drivers’ blood for marijuana. The increases in testing has led to higher numbers of positive tests for marijuana, but the tests cannot determine impairment, and states did not track marijuana DUIs before legalization. A number of studies show very little or no increased crash risk for drivers who have used cannabis. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Safety Administration in a 2015 paper, “carefully controlled studies that actually measured marijuana (THC) use by drivers rather than relying on self-report, and that had more actual control of covariates that could bias the results, generally show reduced risk estimates or no risk associated with marijuana use (Elvik, 2013). ... There was no difference in crash risk for marijuana (THC)-positive drivers who were also positive for alcohol than for marijuana (THC)-positive drivers with no alcohol, beyond the risk attributable to alcohol. ... The results of this study are In line with the previous research on the effects of marijuana on the risk of crash involvement. While a number of previous studies have shown some increased risk associated with marijuana use by drivers, many studies have not found increased risk.”

“Is use going to increase?”

Cannabis is widely available in California, which already reports some of the highest use rates in the nation. Studies of medical marijuana laws’ effects on use show no increases in use after states pass medical marijuana laws. In Colorado, surveyed shows teen use as essentially flat after legalization. This comports with post-legalization data from Washington as well.

“Marijuana health questions: Is it addictive? Does it cause cancer? Can you overdose?”

Researchers estimate that up to one in 11 people who use marijuana will at one some point in their life have trouble stopping using marijuana. Withdrawal symptoms from discontinuing marijuana use are mild and medically benign, unlike alcohol. Cannabis has a lower lifetime dependence riskthan caffeine, alcohol, cigarettes and other previously legal substances. “With a lifetime dependence risk of 9% in marijuana users vs 32% for nicotine, 23% for heroin, 17% for cocaine, and 15% for alcohol, the addiction risk with marijuana is not as high as that for other drugs of abuse,” Mayo Clinic researchers stated in 2012.

Well-controlled large studies of marijuana users have found no increase in incidence of lung cancer among long-time smokers. The active ingredients in cannabis have been shown in numerous lab, cell and animal studies to be anti-cancer agents. Overall, lifelong pot users have been shown to be healthy, researchers have concluded.

There is no functional fatal overdose amount for THC, because the drug cannot fatally supress respiratory or heart function like alcohol or opioids do.

“What are marijuana edibles? What are some rules around eating them?”

Marijuana edibles are foods infused with the active ingredients in cannabis, THC and CBD. You should exercise caution when consuming edibles, because they can take far longer until onset of effects are felt, leading to people eating more edibles out of impatience. Wait two hours after eating any marijuana edibles before increasing your dose. If you over-ingest THC, the standard course of treatment is rest and hydration. Symptoms like dizziness, confusion, dysphoria and nausea should subside within a few hours.

“I grew more than an ounce. Is that legal?”

Adults 21 and over can possess up to an ounce and grow up to six plants. Adults 21 and over can keep their harvest in excess of one ounce, so long as it stays on the property, though they can still gift their harvest to other adults 21 and over.

“What’s legal in my city/town/county?”

Cities and counties can ban outdoor recreational cannabis cultivation, and some already have. They cannot ban personal indoor recreational cultivation. Check your local city and county codes for details.

“When do regulations start?”

In the next 45 days, the state of California will spend $5 million on a public education campaign and $30 million to pay for regulators to begin to draft rules for the legal cannabis industry. The first state rulemaking hearings should be announced in early 2017. Local cities and counties will also begin agendizing marijuana regulation related items in the coming weeks.

“How do I keep pot away from my kids? Do you have tips for parents?”

Treat pot like alcohol, prescription drugs, vitamins, ibuprofen and other substances for which you would restrict child access. Keep marijuana, especially edible marijuana, in a locked enclosure, up and away from children, teens, pets or unsuspecting adults. Do not keep edibles unlocked in your refrigerator or freezer or without a label.

Parents needs to have open lines of communication about the mind-altering substances available in society and explain that such substances are not intended for use by children, whose brains are still developing. Two common factors in child use of marijuana is lack of supervision, especially in the afternoon hours after school.

“What if I or someone I care for is accidentally exposed to marijuana?”

In the event of accidental exposure, monitor and provide rest and hydration. Symptoms should subside in a few hours. You can call poison control or go to the emergency room. Patient outcomes from accidental exposure to marijuana are almost always a quick full recovery, unless there was some mitigating factor.

“Can marijuana cause psychosis?”

People with a family or personal history of mental illness should avoid using marijuana, alcohol and other drugs unless instructed to do so by a doctor. Psychosis is defined as loss of contact with external reality, and can be brought on by lack of sleep, too much caffeine, alcohol, stress, trauma and other factors. Cannabis overexposure — like alcohol exposure — can cause transient symptoms associated with psychosis, like alterations in perceptions of space and time, as well as sensory alterations. People with psychotic tendencies are most likely to have their first psychotic break by their late teens or early 20s, a time when cannabis use also tends to peak. This correlation between peak cannabis use and onset of latent mental illness is often misidentified as causation. In reality, cannabis use has significantly increased in the U.S. population over the 20th century with no concurrent rise in rates of psychosis or schizophrenia. A 2013 study published in Schizophrenia Research concluded that “having an increased familial morbid risk for schizophrenia may be the underlying basis for schizophrenia in cannabis users and not cannabis use by itself.”

Synthetic cannabinoids sold over the counter like Spice and K-2 can cause lasting psychosis, however, and should be avoided.

“Can I be fired for on the job or off the job marijuana use?”

Yes. Employers have the right to maintain a drug-free workplace under Prop. 64, meaning they can fire employees for showing up to work high or testing positive for marijuana byproducts in their urine — even if last use of marijuana was off-work hours days or weeks prior to testing.

“What are the penalties for breaking the new laws?”

Smoking in public can be a $100 fine, or $25 for smoking pot where tobacco is banned (near schools, etc.). Rules against e-cigarettes apply to marijuana vaporizers.

“Do rules change for the police at all?”

Yes, the smell of marijuana is no longer probable cause to be stopped or search. You do not have to submit to a search of your person, car or home because of suspected marijuana use.