New Laws for 2018

There are a number of new laws that take effect in California on January 1, 2018. A summary of each of these is below. If you have questions about this new legislation or are facing criminal charges and would like to discuss hiring a defense attorney, call me at (916) 442-1200 for a free and confidential consultation.

MarijuanaWith the passage of Proposition 64 in 2016, it became legal in California for people 21 years old and above to use and possess up to an ounce (28.5 grams) of marijuana. In addition, it is legal to have up to six marijuana plants growing in your home and to give up an ounce of marijuana to other adults. The limitations are that marijuana cannot be given to minors and its use is banned in vehicles, public areas, and anywhere that smoking is not allowed. It also cannot be in a person’s possession in youth or daycare centers or schools. If you use marijuana and drive a vehicle, you can still be cited for driving under the influence. And possession of anything in excess of an ounce is a misdemeanor that can result in $500 fine and up to six months in county jail.

What changes in 2018 is that marijuana dispensaries will be able to get licenses from the Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC), the state agency charged with overseeing the sale of marijuana. Licenses for selling recreational use marijuana will be issued at the beginning of 2018. In addition to getting the BCC license, dispensaries must be approved by their local governments, and different counties and cities through the state are dealing with this in different ways with some permitting the sale of recreational marijuana and others not.

While the cultivation of small amounts of marijuana (six plants) is legal in your home, large scale cultivation is still illegal and law enforcement throughout the Sacramento region has made it a priority to crack down on this. Click here for more information on the laws regarding marijuana use and distribution.

Also keep in mind that while California law regarding marijuana now allows personal use, federal law still considers recreational use of marijuana to be illegal. Though in most circumstances the Department of Justice will not prosecute personal possession and use, those policies could change.

Criminal History of Job ApplicantsBeginning in January, employers will not be able ask job applicants during the initial application and review process about any past criminal convictions. The new rules state that the employer can make a “conditional offer” of employment and then ask about criminal history. This information can then be used to make a final decision about employment.

Immigration Status of EmployeesAssembly Bill 450 puts new requirements on employers regarding efforts by the federal government to check people’s immigration status. Specifically, employers in the State of California are not permitted to voluntarily agree to allow immigration enforcement agents to look at employee records unless they have a warrant that grants the authority for them to do so. (This does not apply to I-9 verification.) In addition, if an immigration enforcement agency, like Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), does obtain the necessary warrants to conduct a review of employment records, the employer must notify employees within 72 hours that this will be occurring.

AmmunitionThere are a number of new regulations that pertain to ammunition in California. One is that to purchase ammunition you will have to submit to a background check. Another is that you must use a licensed dealer if you purchase ammunition from a catalog or online. Both of these are changes from the current rules that do not require licenses or training to sell ammunition and allow anyone who is 18 years of age or older to buy ammunition without having to do a background check (the age is 21 for handgun ammunition).