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4/20 Is a ‘Pothead’ Holiday: What to Know

4/20 Meaning & Potential Consequences

Cannabis lovers throughout the nation are preparing for their beloved annual holiday: 4/20. While the origins of the April 20th holiday are unclear and debated, the bottom line is Californians are especially keen on getting their cannabis fix. After all, adults age 21+ can legally smoke weed in California as well as qualified medical marijuana patients.

Residents in particularly “weed-friendly” areas such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego have convenient access to a vast range of 4/20 events in California. State residents and even out-of-state residents have traveled to these cities to celebrate 4/20. Things may look a little bit different this year due to COVID-19 restrictions, but typically, people celebrate 4/20 as such:

  • Food
  • Music
  • Seminars/conventions
  • Art
  • Outdoor activities (hikes, swimming, etc.)
  • Movies
  • Games
  • (Virtual) group smoke sessions

Marijuana Possession Laws in California

Although the Golden State is relatively lenient on marijuana possession, especially when possession was decriminalized in 2016, there are limits. Remember, adults age 21+ can legally use and possess certain amounts of marijuana without getting drug charges. Minors under 18 and adults under 21 must go by different rules, on the other hand.

Read below for California’s marijuana possession laws:

Possession of 28.5 gram or less and/or up to 8 grams of concentrated cannabis:

Persons under 18: Infraction punishable by 4 hours of drug education or counseling and up to 10 hours of community service over a maximum 60-day period.

  • Second or subsequent offense: 6 hours of drug education or counseling and up to 20 hours of community service over a maximum 90-day period.

Persons 18 to 20: Infraction punishable by a $100 fine.

Possession of more than 28.5 grams of cannabis or more than 8 grams of concentrated cannabis:

Persons under 18: Infraction punishable by up to 40 hours of community service over a maximum 90-day period.

  • Second or subsequent offense: 10 hours of drug education or counseling and up to 60 hours of community service over a maximum 120-day period.
  • Possession on school grounds: Infraction punishable by up to 40 hours of community service over a maximum 90-day period or 10 hours of drug education or counseling and up to 60 hours of community service over a maximum 120-day period for a second or subsequent offense.

Persons 18 years old or above: Up to 6 months in jail and/or a $500 fine

  • Possession on school grounds: Misdemeanor punishable by a $250 fine for a first offense and a $500 fine plus 10 days in jail for a second or subsequent offense.

Effects of Marijuana

Whether or not you’re a regular cannabis user, it would benefit you to understand the possible effects of marijuana on your mind and body. While the penalties above are frightening, they only concern drug possession. You could also get a DUI, drug distribution charges, and other criminal allegations for using cannabis unlawfully.

By learning how marijuana affects parts of your body, including the brain, you may think twice about smoking in public places or driving while high. Common short and long-term effects of cannabis include:

Short-term effects

  • Altered senses (for example, seeing brighter colors)
  • Altered sense of time
  • Changes in mood
  • Impaired body movement
  • Difficulty with thinking and problem-solving
  • Impaired memory
  • Hallucinations (when taken in high doses)
  • Delusions (when taken in high doses)
  • Psychosis (risk is highest with regular use of high potency marijuana)

Long-term effects

  • Impaired thinking, memory, and learning functions
  • Impacts how the brain connects the areas needed to perform key functions
  • A decline in general knowledge and verbal ability (according to study)

Marijuana Safety Tips

Are you a first-time smoker, a daily smoker, or an occasional smoker? It doesn’t matter how much you smoke; safety comes first — especially with marijuana. Marijuana is a Schedule 1 drug, meaning it is classified by the federal government as highly addictive and not currently accepted for medical use.

You may be thinking, “How could that be if medical marijuana is allowed in many states?” Simply put, the federal government has some catching up to do. Although recreational and/or medical marijuana is allowed in many states, it is strictly prohibited in others. And the federal government is in no rush to reclassify marijuana into a different drug schedule, if any.

In the meantime, you should review some tips for responsible marijuana use below to best avoid experiencing unfavorable or dangerous effects:

  • Start low, go slow: Starting with low amounts of THC and smoking or ingesting small amounts at a time can help you keep control of your high and experience a high at a safer pace.
  • Purchase lab-tested cannabis: It is safer to purchase marijuana that has been tested on factors such as potency, cannabinoid, and terpene, pesticides, pests, and metals. Knowing what your smoking is a win-win situation.
  • Know the risks: As mentioned above, marijuana has short and long-term side effects depending on how much and how often you smoke or ingest it. The effects may differ depending on whether you’re smoking flower, vapes, concentrates, or ingesting edibles.
  • Drink water and eat ahead of time: Marijuana can cause dry mouth and dehydrate you altogether, so be sure to stay hydrated and eat a meal before taking edibles.
  • Take a breather: First-time users have an especially interesting experience with marijuana, as their bodies are rapidly adjusting to the effects of the drug. As a result, users may feel anxious, drowsy, nauseous, and more. To help alleviate these effects, take slow and deep breaths.

We hope the information above helps out as you coordinate your 4/20 plans. Knowing about the uses, abuses, penalties, and tips regarding marijuana can help you avoid trouble with the law. However, if you got caught up in a messy situation, our criminal defense attorneys are on your side. Give us a call at (805) 467-6060 to learn how we can defend your drug charges!

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