California has legalized the recreational use of marijuana, after voters approved Proposition 64, but dispensaries are still not allowed to sell the drug for nonmedical purposes—at least for now.
Attorney Richard Miadich wrote the proposition, and he says state agencies next have to write new rules.
"They will begin regular licensing of non-medical marijuana businesses by January 1 of 2018, and incidentally January 1, 2018 is when the new state taxes, with respect to retail sales and cultivation of marijuana also go into effect," says Miadich.
In the meantime, agencies and state lawmakers have authority to issue temporary licenses, if they wish.
Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, who backed the measure, called the initiative’s passing a “beginning.”
"Legalization is not an act that occurs on Election Day, it’s a process that unfolds over the course of many, many years," says Newsom.
The measure immediately reduces penalties for marijuana-related crimes, and those serving sentences can seek to have them reduced.
While it is legal to own and buy nonmedical marijuana in California, it’s still illegal to sell it.
People with criminal records for marijuana-related crimes can now seek to have them expunged, while those currently serving sentences can petition for early release.