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Where can I buy weed and where can I smoke it in California?

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An employee holds one of several strains of medical marijuana sold at a dispensary in downtown Los Angeles on Monday afternoon, Feb. 29, 2016.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
An employee holds one of several strains of medical marijuana sold at a dispensary in downtown Los Angeles on Monday afternoon, Feb. 29, 2016.

Despite what you might've heard, it's not legal to smoke weed in public. We answer questions about that and more from our listeners.

Since Proposition 64 passed, we've been inundated with questions about marijuana in California. So, we decided that every week we're going to take a crack at answering some of them.

If you want one of your questions answered, tweet me @JacobMargolis or send it through our submission form. If you want to catch up on what we've already answered, we've got you.

Nigel Cairns asks: Where can I buy weed?

Right now, the options are limited. You can still buy medical marijuana with a doctor's recommendation. Or, if you've magically grown a plant over the course of one week, you could harvest it yourself. Remember, people can legally grow up to six plants on their premises now.  

The reality is that you'll likely have to wait until 2018 to buy recreational pot. That's because it's going to take a while for the state and for cities to develop their licensing systems so that people can grow, distribute and sell marijuana.

Where can I smoke pot?

If you can't smoke cigarettes there, you definitely can't smoke pot there. And there are some places, like in your car, walking down the street or anywhere in public where you cannot smoke weed. 

Lorraine Kent asks: How much will the state receive in taxes from marijuana sales?

Before it passed, California's Department of Finance estimated that the state could bring in more than $1 billion in tax revenue. That comes from the 15 percent excise tax on pot-related products. There's also, of course, the standard 9 percent (or so) sales tax. Plus, there's a tax on growers of marijuana based on weight.

That money will go towards different programs highlighted in Proposition 64 (start on page 46).

Sanden Totten looked a few of the science-related highlights this week, but here are some more:

  • $10 million will be allocated annually to research and to evaluate the impact of marijuana in the state. That includes the impact on public health, tax revenues and enforcement. That money will be up for grabs by multiple universities. 
  • $2 million will go to the University of California San Diego Center for Medical Cannabis Research, one of the few places in the country that can actually legally study marijuana. That money's being allocated to study the efficacy, as well as the adverse effects of marijuana consumption. 
  • $3 million will go to the Department of the California Highway Patrol from 2018-2023 to help them figure out how to tell if someone is driving while stoned, as well as to establish proper protocols to deal with them.
  • ​A portion will be allocated to developing and maintaining drug treatment and prevention programs for minors.

It should be noted that it'll take a while for this funding to get going, because recreational weed likely won't be available in California until 2018, and medical pot sales are going to remained untaxed through 2017. So, California will be missing out on what could've been tax revenue.

@CannabisPhotoLab tweeted at us: What's going to happen to medical marijuana shops? Are they going to stick around through 2017 or are they going to be gotten rid of?

They're not going anywhere for now, and they'll be around through 2017, barring some major changes to the law.

@BrewsByDon wonders: Will the penalties for driving while stoned be adjusted now that pot will be legal and more common?

It's certainly still illegal to drive while stoned — and the penalties remain the same.

Will those who are now serving sentences in California jails for possession of marijuana for personal use have their sentences commuted?

People can petition to have their sentences commuted. There's some evidence that this is happening already. People can also petition to have their old marijuana charges wiped from their records. So, some felonies can be turned into misdemeanors. I wrote about it a few days ago.

Series: High-Q: Your California pot questions answered

This story is part of Take Two's look at the burgeoning, multi-billion dollar marijuana industry in California, with audience Q&As, explorations of personal narratives and an examination of how the industry is changing the world around our audience.

Read more in this series and call or text us your questions at (929) 344-1948 or

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