It is legal to use marijuana in California recreationally provided however you are an adult over the age of 21. Proposition 64 brought about significant changes concerning offenses related to cannabis use and distribution, for instance, people above the legal age restriction can travel with up to an ounce without fear. Individuals caught selling the drug face a misdemeanor rather than a felony as was the case before Prop 64 going into effect.
While practically every cannabis-related offense was either downgraded or done away with, it is still possible to find one’s self on the wrong side of the law. People who use minors to sell marijuana and individuals who are caught cultivating substantial amounts of the drug—on numerous occasions—can be subject to felony charges.
Advocates of the legislation didn’t expect Prop 64 to put an end to marijuana offenses, but they are pleased to see the arrest rates drop across the state, The Orange County Register reports. Although, some people have concerns about racial disparity when it comes to arrests, which is a trend that has persisted for decades.
Marijuana-related Arrests Last Year
Last week, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra released several reports about crime in California, which included post-Proposition 64 findings. The data indicate that marijuana-related arrests fell significantly last year; total arrests dropped 56 percent, and felony arrests decreased 74 percent. The number of people facing possible incarceration and other adverse effects resulting from cannabis charges fell by almost 8,000 from the year before. All told, 6,065 people were charged with a marijuana-related offense in 2017.
“Overall, I think it bodes well for marijuana legalization in California,” said Jolene Forman, an attorney with the Drug Policy Alliance. “It shows… that law enforcement resources are not being wasted on marijuana arrests anymore and can be used on more serious offenses.”
As mentioned above, racial disparity continues concerning weed busts. Despite data showing that white, black, and Hispanic individuals use and sell cannabis at roughly equivalent rates, whites are charged with felonies less often. The recent report shows that Hispanic people accounted for 40 percent and black people accounted for 21 percent of marijuana felony arrests, compared to 24 percent for whites.
Southern California Criminal Defense Attorney
Are you facing criminal charges related to cannabis? If so, The Law Office of Ronald G. Brower can help. Please contact Attorney Brower to learn how he can advocate on your behalf and help you achieve the best possible outcome in your case.