Understanding Legalized Marijuana Laws in San Diego

Recreational marijuana became legal in the state of California when the clock struck midnight on January 1. As a result, the laws concerning marijuana possession, distribution, and cultivation changed dramatically. Contrary to popular belief, all marijuana use is not legal. In light of the state-wide legalization, some counties and cities in California have passed legislation to ban the sale and cultivation of the drug at the local level. Additionally, there are still strict regulations in place that must be followed in those cities where marijuana is legal. Failing to follow these regulations can result in significant fines and, in some cases, criminal drug charges. It is important to understand that marijuana use is highly regulated and that breaking the law can still land you in serious trouble.

Many San Diego Cities Have Banned The Sale of Marijuana

As the present moment, the city of San Diego is the only place in San Diego County where marijuana can be legally grown and sold. Some cities, like Chula Vista, are discussing legalizing the drug in the future. For now, however, if you want to buy marijuana in places like National City, Santee, or San Marcos you will be out of luck. Since no licensed retailers can sell the drug in these cities you cannot legally purchase the drug within those city limits. Purchases of marijuana, as a result, are prohibited. Breaking the law will result in penalties ranging from small fines to potential jail time. The punishment will be linked to the amount of marijuana you purchase from an unlicensed dealer.

Marijuana Must be Purchased From Licensed Retailers

In order to legally sell marijuana, retailers must apply for and receive a special permit. Once this permit is awarded the retailer must adhere to strict regulations and guidelines. These guidelines help to ensure that marijuana is safe, sold during permitted hours, dispensed in limited amounts, and only sold to adults over the age of 21. Retailers who violate the terms of their permits can face fines, criminal charges, and the loss of their license to dispense.

There are Limits on Where You Can Consume Marijuana

No Public Consumption

You can walk down the streets of San Diego and see dozens of people happily puffing away on their cigarettes. However, don’t expect to be able to light up your marijuana cigarette or chow down on an edible in public. Marijuana consumption must be done in private. If you are found using the drug in public you will face a fine of no less than $100. Multiple violations of the law could result in additional fines and even criminal charges.

Cars Are Off Limits

Under the new marijuana laws, you will be prohibited from consuming marijuana while you are in a motor vehicle. Lighting up in your car can result in fines and even DUI charges. Local cities will be responsible for determining specific penalties for smoking in vehicles.

Drugs Still Prohibited Near Schools

Marijuana cannot be legally sold within 600 feet of a school. When you have legally purchased marijuana from a licensed retailer you will also be prohibited from consuming the drug on or near school grounds. The state’s strict drug-free school zones will still be in effect, so breaking these laws can have serious consequences.

Possession Can Still Be a Crime

The new marijuana laws legalize the possession of some quantities of marijuana. Specifically, adults over the age of 21 can legally possess up to 28.5 grams of marijuana at one time. If you are found in possession of a greater quantity of the drug you can face fines and criminal charges. If the quantity of the drug is excessive, you could even face charges of possession with the intent to distribute.

Limitations on Growing Your Own Plants

You may decide that you want to grow and cultivate your own marijuana right at home. If your San Diego city permits cultivation, you can legally grow up to six marijuana plants at one time. Under the law, six or fewer plants are associated with personal, rather than commercial, use. If you are found in possession of more than six plants you will likely face criminal charges.

Call the San Diego Criminal Law Center

Marijuana may be legal, but the laws are still complex. If you have any questions about the legalization of marijuana in San Diego, or if you are facing marijuana-related criminal charges, do not hesitate to contact the San Diego Criminal Law Center for help. If you need assistance finding an attorney, see our guide on finding a criminal lawyer.

{ 0 comments… add one }

Leave a Comment