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6 Ways California's Marijuana Laws are Different Than Other Legal States

California legalized recreational marijuana just two days ago, and it’s hard not to keep talking about it. A state that contains one-eighth of the entire population of the United States now has 100 percent legal cannabis. But is marijuana legalization different in California than it is in other states? Well, somewhat.

Here are six ways California’s marijuana laws are different than other legalized states:

1. Residents Allowed Six Marijuana Plants at Home

This isn’t entirely different from all legalized states. Colorado also allows people to grow up to six marijuana plants in their home. But Oregon only allows four, while Washington doesn’t allow it at all. So there are a few slight differences when it comes to making it at home.

2. No Set Intoxication Rate

In America, 0.08 is the level of intoxication for alcohol. States that legalize marijuana have set similar rates for driving under the influence of cannabis. While drugged driving is illegal in California, there’s no set limit for how much is too much and it’s largely left to the courts to decide if someone was impaired or not.

3. Restrictions on Advertising

California actually has restrictions on how much marijuana can be advertised. The state will not allow cannabis messages on large billboards, and any ads that promote marijuana businesses must be in places where 71 percent or more of people viewing it will be adults. Not really sure how they determine what percentage of an ad’s viewers are adults, but ok then.

4. California Allows Indoor Cannabis Cafes

While most states are wrestling right now with whether or not to allow businesses to let people consume marijuana on their premises, technically it’s already legal to do so in California. However, businesses still need to get licenses from the city, so while these cafes are technically allowed in the state, they may not be in operation until cities come onboard as well.

5. So Many Taxes!

California has a 15 percent excise tax and a 7.5 state tax on all marijuana purchases, for a 22.5 total sales tax, not counting any local taxes that may be added on. That’s roughly in line with most legalized states. What’s different is California is also charging a cultivation tax of $2.75 per ounce of trimmed leaves or $9.25 per ounce on marijuana flower as well. So you’re paying an excise tax, a sales tax and a cultivation tax when you buy cannabis in California. Some have even speculated that people will stay in the medical market to avoid the new recreational marijuana taxes.

6. Criminal Justice Reform

In addition to allowing recreational marijuana, the new California cannabis laws also changes a lot of the current criminal laws against the drug. Most felonies involving marijuana have been reduced to misdemeanors, while current misdemeanors have been reduced to infractions. The new law also allows people who are currently or formerly incarcerated for marijuana crimes to appeal their sentences and get their criminal records expunged. This is something that other legalized states have begun to explore, but California’s led the charge in making it happen.


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