Marijuana has come a long way since the days of Reefer Madness, a 1936 cult movie that revolved around two high school students lured into the world of drugs. Back then, pot consumption was linked to satanic desires. The drug was considered blasphemous and a source of evil that was believed to have led many young men and women astray. Even as it remains banned under the federal law, many states have legalized marijuana for medical and recreational purposes. As many as 29 states and the District of Columbia have decriminalized medical marijuana, while nine of them also allow it for recreational purposes.
California, a cannabis tolerant state, legalized medical marijuana in 1996 with the passing of Proposition 215. Thereafter, the state passed the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (Proposition 64) on Nov. 8, 2016, which permitted pot use for adults aged 21 or older, and allowed them to possess and use marijuana for recreational purposes. However, legal purchase from retail stores selling recreational marijuana will begin only in January 2018. Estimated to contribute a whopping $7 billion, marijuana trade will be one of the primary movers of the economy, but with certain limitations.
Summary of California’s new pot laws
The new pot rules have literally stirred up the pot. There are people like Hezekiah Allen, executive director of the California Growers Association, who appear to be unhappy, as the rule allegedly favors big businesses. According to him, they could have “as many licenses as they could afford,” which would threaten the existence of small farms. While most of the regulations have been made to ensure that the youth below the age of 21 are not drawn into the vicious cycle of abuse, others such as capping on cultivation remain ambiguous.
These regulations are the combined effort of the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Bureau of Cannabis Control, Department of Food and Agriculture and Department of Public Health. Here is a glimpse of the new regulations:
No marijuana near schools: As per the new rule, businesses cannot regulate marijuana within 600 feet of a school or any youth-centric facility. Studies in the past have indicated that adolescents who start consuming marijuana early are more likely to fall prey to mental health disorders.
Controlling amount of THC: Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), prime constituent of marijuana, is responsible for its mind-altering properties. It attaches itself to cannabinoid receptors present in the human brain and impairs memory, movement, concentration and coordination skills. All sensory and time perception capabilities are also affected. California’s new law warrants that edibles should have no more than 10 milligrams of THC and not more than 100 milligrams in the total package. Also, businesses are not permitted to mix alcohol, nicotine, caffeine and seafood. Marketing of marijuana in human, animal, fruit or insect shape is also dissuaded.
Advertising restrictions: In order to restrict the use of marijuana among teens and adolescents, the new laws specify that only those “outlets” that are frequented by a resounding 71.6 percent of adults aged 21 or older can market their marijuana goodies. In addition, marketers will not use unfair practices such as cartoons to influence younger populace. There is a ban on the use of the term “candy” on marijuana-based products due to the associated risks.
Blanket ban on delivery of marijuana to public addresses: The current regulations also put a damper on the transportation of pot through “aircraft, watercraft, drone, rail, human-powered vehicle and unmanned vehicle.” This would in effect prevent the sale and purchase of marijuana for nefarious practices. In addition, marijuana cannot be delivered to a public place such as a mall.
Special license required for festivals: In case someone desires to host a festival where cannabis would be a mainstay, it is necessary to apply for a special license.
In addition, the state plans to issue only temporary licenses to retailers and growers if they have a local permit.
Dealing with cannabis addiction
In spite of the current brouhaha about marijuana and its miracle cures, the drug is associated with increased risk of abuse and addiction. Early marijuana use is associated with the susceptibility to schizophrenia at a later stage. It is also responsible for decreasing cognition and coordination between key brain areas resulting in faulty judgments. The earlier one seeks treatment, the better are the chances of an addiction-free and healthy life.