Happy 2018! The new year brings fresh beginnings for everyone, which includes new laws and legislation in place. Though they may not seem relevant to you, they could have an indirect impact on you or people you know.

Be sure to check these out and stay informed for a great start to 2018!

Recreational Marijuana

On January 1st, California became the 6th state to allow licensed shops to sell marijuana to anyone with an ID reflecting their age as 21+. The sale of recreational marijuana is a big, and often celebrated, change this new year but there are still a lot of strings attached with its use.

For Buyers

The basic rule now is marijuana is now legal to smoke recreationally, but there are similar restrictions on marijuana as there are on tobacco or alcohol:

  • Marijuana can be purchased without a medical prescription if you are 21 years or older.
  • Marijuana cannot be consumed in public, even in legal tobacco-smoking areas. This means not on the streets, in bars, in parks, etc. The fine for public consumption can range from $100-$250.
  • Homes or private property are acceptable (as was previously with the medical marijuana laws), but some cities will begin allowing cannabis lounges.

For Sellers

Even if you’re not in the business of selling marijuana, the following can help you understand what kind of restrictions still apply under the new law, and perhaps further clarify what is and isn’t allowed still.  

  • Cannabis business must have permits from their local governments first before applying for state licensure.  
  • Retailers must have different permits for dispensing medical marijuana and recreational cannabis. That means dispensaries may not be selling recreational marijuana just yet, unless they have the appropriate permits/licenses.
  • All cannabis products sold in CA require testing for purity, pesticides, mold, and other contaminants. There are also new limits on the amount of THC in certain products. The state is allowing a 6-month grace period to sell off the ‘non-compliant’ inventory, so long as it has a warning label.
  • Cannabis businesses in California cannot be within 600 feet of schools
  • Shops must close by 10 PM
  • Premises must have 24-hour surveillance.

New Gun Laws

For gun owners, there are stricter restrictions in this new year, including the following:

  • All ammunition purchases made in CA must be made in person through a vendor licensed by the Department of Justices (DOJ). This law also applies to any transfers of ammunition.
  • Gun owners are prohibited from importing ammunition from outside the state without it going through a licensed CA vendor first.
  • You cannot “drive in ammunition” from out of state, but there is no limit on how much ammunition can be purchased within the state.
  • California residents can continue to own assault rifles, but are no longer allowed to purchase them. Any assault rifles owned must be registered.

Employment-Related Laws

California employers are no longer allowed to ask a job applicant to disclose their past or present salary, compensation, or benefits. Employers are also required to provide a pay range for an open position.

This change intends to bring about a more level playing field for women in particular, and help candidates in negotiating their salaries.

 

  • Minimum Wage
    The minimum wage in CA for businesses with 26+ employees increased to $11/hr in the New Year.
  • Parental Leave
    Parents who work for smaller businesses (26-49 employees) will be able to take 3 months (12 weeks) off without worry of losing their jobs/positions.

Sanctuary State

California will continue to uphold its sanctuary status, meaning that state and local law enforcement agencies are not allowed to use their funding or personnel to investigate, detain, or arrest people for immigration enforcement purposes.

There is still debate over this, not just in the political facet, but over logistics. Advocates of sanctuary status say that helps reinforce the jurisdiction of law enforcement agencies vs. immigration agents such that law enforcement won’t be forced into doing immigration work. Opponents argue that cooperation between federal agencies and local law enforcement becomes stifled.

2017 Wrap-Up

Just in case you were wondering how New Year’s Eve fared in comparison to the previous year in terms drunk driving, etc., we unfortunately saw an increase in the number of incidents and fatalities on the road.

From a local police blotter, there was a 38% increase in fatalities on the road compared to the previous year. There were 936 DUI arrests and 40 people killed on New Year’s Eve weekend. 13 of those 40 individuals were not wearing seatbelts. The DUI arrests reflected a 22% increase from the previous year.

From the Christmas holiday weekend, there were 917 people arrested for drunk driving, and 27 people killed.

Despite what may seem like obvious or redundant ‘don’t drink and drive’ or ‘don’t drive under the influence’ campaigns, it’s clear the message doesn’t hit home with some until it’s too late.

Let’s all help make 2018 a better year. Be the friend that offers a ride home or helps make transportation arrangements for an intoxicated, medicated, or otherwise judgment-impaired friend. And of course, be sure to take care of yourself, as well, and be with people who will take care of you.

Here’s to good health, wise choices, and well-being in this New Year!

Have a serious injury and need legal advice?
Contact Howard Blau.

Check Out These References for Further Reading:

“Everything You Need to Know About California Marijuana Laws Kicking in Jan. 1, 2018.” The Cannifornian.  Retrieved 2 January 2018. http://www.thecannifornian.com/cannabis-culture/everything-know-california-marijuana-laws-kicking-jan-1-2018/

“From Weed to Wages, the New Year Ushers in New Laws Affecting Consumers.” Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2 January 2018. http://www.latimes.com/business/lazarus/la-fi-lazarus-new-california-laws-20180102-story.html

“Here are the rules for legal marijuana in California once the law goes into effect Jan. 1, 2018”. The Cannifornian. Retrieved 3 Jan 2018. http://www.thecannifornian.com/cannabis-news/california-news/rules-legal-marijuana-california-law-goes-effect-jan-1/

“California awards state’s first license to Lynwood distributor.” The Cannifornian. Retrieved 3 January 2018. http://www.thecannifornian.com/cannabis-business/california-awards-states-first-cannabis-license-lynnwood-distributor/

“How California’s New Laws Affect Gun Owners.” Agoura Hills Patch. Retrieved 3 January 2018. https://patch.com/california/agourahills/s/gbphi/how-californias-new-laws-affect-gun-owners?utm_source=alert-breakingnews&utm_medium=email&utm_term=weather&utm_campaign=alert

“It’s not just pot: California’s legislating guns, tampons, and diaper changes in 2018.” CNN News. Retrieved 3 January 2018. http://www.cnn.com/2018/01/02/politics/california-new-laws-2018/index.html

“936 DUI Arrests, 40 Killed in CA During New Year’s Eve Weekend.” Agoura Hills Patch. Retrieved 3 January 2018. https://patch.com/california/agourahills/s/gbqaj/936-dui-arrests-40-killed-in-ca-during-new-years-eve-weekend?utm_source=alert-breakingnews&utm_medium=email&utm_term=weather&utm_campaign=alert