Recreational Marijuana: New Rules to Know - Palm Springs News, Weather, Traffic, Breaking News

Recreational Marijuana: New Rules to Know

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California voters have voted yes for recreational use of marijuana for people 21 and older, but you can't just light up anywhere and it'll be awhile before a shop near you sells pot.

It took another four years, but this go-around, California voters join the growing list of states that are basically putting marijuana in the same class as alcohol.

As the green bud gets the go ahead, there's still some gray area in the rules.

"There's a lot we don't know, there's a lot of misunderstandings, people believe that today you can go into any shop and buy recreational cannabis," said Jim Camper of Organic Solutions of the Desert -- a medical marijuana dispensary.

That is not the case, however police say you can now carry an ounce of marijuana if you're over 21.

"Possession of an ounce, use of is all legal for people over the age of 21 or older, not in a public place, if you are seen smoking in a public place, it is still a crime," said Sgt. William Hutchinson of the Palm Springs Police Department.

Think of it much like alcohol: you can't have an open container.

"The law does not allow you to drive or operate a motor vehicle. In terms of the work place, all workplaces and employers have the absolute right to say you can not come to work high, you cannot come to work in possession of marijuana," said Sgt. Hutchinson.

Cities also have the right to issue, or not issue, licenses for recreational marijuana shops. 
That's a decision cities like Palm Springs will all have to make.

"I am sure that the council is going to want to explore what their options are and make a decision as to whether or not this is something that is appropriate for the city," said the city attorney of Palm Springs, Doug Holland.

According to the new law, the soonest a business could get a license for recreational use is January 2018.

"It's going to be probably one to two years until the state actually has everything in place, and ready to issue recreational licenses," said Camper.

Exactly when the law takes affect is still a little hazy.
The election results still haven't been officially certified by the California Secretary of State, But some law enforcement agencies say they've received a memo advising that the law went into effect immediately.

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