Welcome to California!
California is the most visited state in the United States, attracting millions of tourists each year. Recent legislation legalized marijuana statewide, so many individuals are flocking to the state to enjoy a different kind of tourism. Getting a traffic ticket is one of the quickest ways to quash the excitement of a vacation or seeing new places. On top of that, even though it’s legal, cannabis use can still have its consequences. To help you out, here are a few things you need to know before visiting California to explore the marijuana industry.
Marijuana and Driving Don’t Mix
Recreational cannabis use went into effect across the state in January of 2018, meaning that all adults over the age of 21 can now legally use marijuana. Understandably, the cannabis tourism industry has since flourished. Many of the state’s visitors come to partake in this unique industry which may not be accessible where they live.
Although the use of cannabis products is now legal in California, the industry is still heavily regulated. The consumption of marijuana is restricted to private residences, so the use of cannabis products in public or in your vehicle is prohibited. It is always illegal for the driver of a vehicle to use marijuana while driving or to drive while under the influence of marijauna.
Driving on the influence of marijuana is considered a DUI, and the possible penalties vary depending on your record. A first offense DUI carries a penalty of “6 months in jail, 6-10 months suspended license.”
Driving with Marijuana in the Vehicle
Even simply having marijauna in your possession can put you at risk for a citation if you are not transporting it properly
If you are pulled over and the officer finds that you have an open, unsealed container of marijuana, you could be cited for an open container violation even if you are not under the influence.
New Sheriff in Town
The green rush is on and local law enforcement is looking to catch up. Recently San Diego has started using a new breathalizer/swab that tests for both marijuana and alcohol. The Dräger 5000 is a swab-based system aimed at detecting marijuana nanogram levels at the time of being pulled over. If upheld in the California court system this device could be a game-changer for law enforcement looking to crack down on impaired driving.
For tourists and marijuana enthusiasts visiting the state, there are a number of tours that allow you to experience California’s cannabis industry in a safe and controlled environment so that you are not putting yourself and others at risk. Los Angeles’ Green Line Tours offers a number of tours throughout the city on a tour bus that allows passengers to enjoy cannabis products at their leisure. In San Diego, West Coast Cannabis Tours has similar offerings. More interested in the production process? Emerald Farm Tours offers tours of farms throughout the state.
Don’t let the fuzz kill your buzz and leave the marijuana tours to the experts. If you smoke and drive or transport open containers of marijuana, you could end up in some serious trouble. If you need a little more help planning your trip, check out this great article from the San Francisco Chronicle to learn more about cannabis tours across the state.