The day will soon come when your favorite medical marijuana dispensary will also sell and deliver adult-use marijuana, thanks to Proposition 64 (Prop 64), which voters approved in November 2016. If you’ve been following cannabis news, then this is not new to you, but some new regulations are coming soon that may impact what products you can buy.
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So what happens in 2018? Will all shops sell recreational marijuana and medical marijuana?
Unfortunately, all dispensaries will not be able to sell both adult-use and medical marijuana. According to AB 64, local authorities in the state will “begin accepting applications and issuing licenses in January 2018, at which point any adult 21 and over may purchase non-medical cannabis” (bmcr.ca.gov, 2016).
Essentially, each county will begin accepting applications from dispensaries to sell recreational use and medical marijuana, beginning January 2018. So it’s not going to be a free-for-all at the beginning of 2018. If the dispensary is approved, it is likely that they will have both adult-use and medical marijuana. If the dispensary is not approved, they will only have medical marijuana.
The good news is that your medical marijuana recommendation will be valid and useful at all marijuana dispensaries. Since there is a chance that not all dispensaries will be issued licenses, you can still use your recommendation to get what you need.
Here’s what you can expect. California marijuana laws 2018
For people who are over 21 years old, you can expect to be asked for a state-issued identification card to possess up to one ounce of cannabis and eight grams of concentrated cannabis. If you are under 21 years old, you can expect a ticket or maybe jail time, depending on your circumstances.
For medical marijuana patients, nothing changes because you will still possess more cannabis and have more plants than the non-medical users. You can also expect longer lines at your favorite cannabis dispensary since more people will be allowed to go there, which means it’s no longer exclusive. However, it is rumored that medical marijuana recommendation holders may receive some special privileges, but we’ll have to wait and see.
They can expect more changes for dispensaries, such as new regulations from new state bills like SB 94 that passed in June 2017, and AB 350 that passed in September 2017.
If you’re unfamiliar with the aspects of the new bills that were just passed, here’s a quick rundown:
California passed Prop 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA), in 2016. It’s now AB 64 (because the proposition was accepted), and it “decriminalizes the cultivation, possession, and use of cannabis for non-medical purposes” for anyone over 21 years of age (www.bmcr.ca.gov, 2017). This paved the way for adult-use cannabis (recreational marijuana) in California.
In June 2017, SB 94 passed, and this bill established more regulations for dispensaries and the testing of cannabis. The Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MCRSA) and the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) are now the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA). This is supposed to clarify certain regulations for licensing and taxing of adult-use and medical marijuana. SB 94 may also increase quality control and taxes on adult-use and medical cannabis.
In September 2017, AB 350 passed. It will prohibit dispensaries from selling marijuana edibles that are made of candy, such as gummy candies that are in the shape of “a person, animal, insect, or fruit” (leginfo.legislature.ca.gov, 2017). This comes after reports of two different children got sick from consuming marijuana edibles that resembled candy. Whether they consumed the edibles purposely or accidentally is unknown.
Overall, thanks to AB 64 and SB 94, dispensaries may have a little more freedom than what they’ve had in the past, so people who use medical marijuana or adult-use marijuana might expect new options from their favorite marijuana dispensary service. Also, I’m sure with AB 350, there will be some compromise for those yummy products, but only time can tell that story. For now, the main goal of politicians is to keep these appetizing sweets away from children.
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2018 will also bring more freedoms for marijuana delivery services. Many local dispensaries have already incorporated medical marijuana delivery services, and several legitimate delivery services are currently functioning in San Jose and San Francisco. Delivery services are crucial for patients who are suffering from debilitating conditions that prevent them from driving. Now their meds can be delivered. Still, I wouldn’t expect delivery drones to get approved any time soon.
In the meantime, be sure to get your medical marijuana card online if you are experiencing any symptoms that can be treated with medical marijuana.