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Prop. 64: You Can Smoke Pot In Your Home, But When Can You Buy It?

SACRAMENTO (CBS) — Recreational marijuana is legal in California, but what does that really mean in the immediate? Now that Prop 64 has passed, the work to regulate, police and prosecute cannabis begins.

"We were thankful that it passed," said Kimberly Cargile the Director at Therapeutic Alternatives, a medical marijuana dispensary in Sacramento.

Business was busy on Wednesday.

"We've had a number of phone calls and we've been fielding phone calls all day," said Cargile.

People are wondering. So, can I get cannabis without a doctor's note?

"We don't have recreational stores yet," said Cargile.

With the passing of Proposition 64, here is what became legal today:

People over 21 can:

  • Consume marijuana in private
  • Possess 1 ounce marijuana

Under the measure, no one can consume pot in public or carry it near places like schools.

The courts and people facing marijuana possession charges were affected immediately as well.

"Whatever was charged as a felony and should be a misdemeanor, we were reducing them to misdemeanors as they come along," said Steve Grippi.

He's the Sacramento Deputy District Attorney. He says his office has about 75 pending cases for review.

His team is working through many unknowns for both prosecutors and police.

"We don't have studies that have been done to tell us what level constitutes impairment," said Grippi.

Marijuana is not like alcohol which has an accepted standard of impairment of .08 blood alcohol level.

Determining what constitutes impairment and at what levels could take years.

Seeing the first recreational pot shop may also take years.

"These things take a while, they take time," said Cargile.

The Bureau of Marijuana Control has until Jan. 1st, 2018 to finalize industry regulations, from cultivation to sale.

"After that time period is when folks might start seeing marijuana businesses cropping up in their jurisdictions," said Drew Soderborg with the Legislative Analysts Office.

But there is still local control, and some municipalities may pass on the marijuana business altogether.

Some cities like Woodland and San Jose passed laws banning recreational pot shops ahead of the Prop 64 decision. Other municipalities could follow or script their own rules for recreational marijuana.

What about the potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in tax money that was discussed leading up to the election?
Tax revenue from marijuana sales won't be collected for years. And the amount generated will be determined by how many cities and counties actually allow businesses to operate.

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