In the realm of legal medical and recreational cannabis, California was an early adopter. In fact, the state has one of the world’s largest legal cannabis markets. However, marijuana laws in the state continue to evolve, so it’s important for enthusiasts to understand how these guidelines may affect their lifestyle. For example, a traffic ticket attorney can help defend your rights if you receive a citation for driving under the influence of cannabis.
Accelerated Cannabis Conviction Dismissal
As part of the state’s Adult Use of Marijuana Act, California passed provisions to dismiss certain cannabis-related convictions. Changes to the act passed in spring 2019 are designed to expedite the process of determining which offenders are eligible for conviction dismissal and notify these individuals. All eligible charges must be automatically reduced or dismissed by the court by July 1, 2020.
Elimination of Minor Advertisement Loophole
Although cannabis companies can still legally market to minors who are unable to purchase marijuana products in California, that’s about to change. Another new provision will prevent these businesses from advertising to those under 18 online, joining the bans on other forms of cannabis ads targeted to minors such as print and radio.
Proposed Ban on Marijuana Party Buses
The Assembly approved a bill in September 2019 to prohibit marijuana smoking on commercial limos and party buses. Since recreational cannabis became legal in California in 2016, a burgeoning industry has developed to drive private parties around to different cannabis dispensaries. Although this has become a popular option for stag parties and countless other celebrations, lawmakers fear that smoking cannabis on the bus could impair the driver. A separate bill, which was shelved, would have allowed cannabis smoking only in vehicles with a separate sealed and ventilated cab for the driver.
Crackdown on Illegal Cannabis Businesses
California’s black-market marijuana industry rivals the size of its legal industry. To combat these underground dispensaries, lawmakers have proposed the expansion of the existing illegal cannabis strike force to include the Department of Justice, the Department of Tax and Fee Administration and the Franchise Tax Board in addition to other state agencies. This expansion is designed to target underground cannabis businesses by uncovering violations involving licensing, insurance, tax and labor issues.
Driving Under the Influence of Cannabis
Because a reliable test for marijuana DUI is not yet publicly available, a law enforcement officer has sole discretion when deciding whether to arrest a motorist for driving after consuming cannabis. Grounds for such an arrest include:
- The presence of marijuana or paraphernalia in the vehicle
- Display of poor driving ability, such as swerving between lanes or failing to observe traffic signs
- Field sobriety test failure
- The individual’s appearance, demeanor and/or statements that he or she has recently smoked or consumed cannabis
- The smell of cannabis in the vehicle
If you receive a citation for driving under the influence of cannabis, contact a traffic ticket lawyer Los Angeles. He or she can help protect your interests in court and avoid significant penalties, including a fine of up to $1,000, three to six months probation, mandatory DUI education courses, six-month license suspension and up to six months in jail for an initial conviction.