Voters OK recreational marijuana in California | TheUnion.com

Voters OK recreational marijuana in California

California voters on Tuesday approved recreational marijuana use in the state, passing the measure by 3,003,062 to 2,393,111 votes, or 55.7 to 44.3 percent, with 45.5 percent of precincts reporting.

The initiative, called the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, will allow adults 21 and over to use and possess cannabis. Called Proposition 64 on the ballot, it will add California to a growing number of states that have legalized recreational marijuana use.

California's 39 million residents easily dwarf the number of people who live in states that permitted recreational pot going into Tuesday's vote.

People can possess and use pot immediately upon Prop 64's passage. They can't buy it from a business until licenses go into effect in Jan 2018.

"I'm disappointed it passed," Nevada County Sheriff Keith Royal said. "I think we're going to see increased use in our youth.

"I think it's going to have longterm effects," he added.

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Nevada City attorney Heather Burke has mixed feelings on the measure.

"I spent my morning in a local jailhouse on a cannabis case, so our office is acutely aware of the good things Prop 64 will do for the criminal justice-related issues," Burke said in an email. "We are not celebrating right now though, since it is clear we have a sobering amount of work ahead of us to make sure our craft farmers can stay in the game."

The issue of cannabis dominated Nevada County Board of Supervisors meetings this year. Marijuana will remain on supervisor agendas going into 2017.

The board intends to have a subcommittee create recommendations for a permanent cultivation ordinance, the next step in the process after the June 7 failure of Measure W. Supervisors on July 26 passed temporary grow rules, but opted to wait until after the Prop 64 vote to put the new subcommittee in motion.

The panel is expected to begin its work early next year.

Recreational pot statewide adds another layer of law alongside the state's existing Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act, as well as federal law that still lists marijuana as a Schedule I drug.

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email ariquelmy@theunion.com or call 530-477-4239.

by the numbers

Yes: 2,033,419

No: 1,602,406

(20 percent of precincts reporting)