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Legal, yes, but recreational pot use in California breeds questions

The use of marijuana in California has long been attached to question marks regarding precisely when, and under what circumstances, users can freely imbibe without running the risk of seeing their behavior criminalized.

California was a foundational state for the role it played in decriminalizing the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, but legality in that context has never fully exempted pot growers who legally sell cannabis to medical users pursuant to an allowance under state law from encountering problems with federal authorities.

And here's why: Notwithstanding marijuana's legality for medical use (and, increasingly, recreational use in states across the country), pot consumption continues to remain unlawful under federal law. That material juxtaposition between federal and state laws has led in many instances to great lack of clarity, as well as individual consumers and pot-growing enterprises that believe they are acting lawfully facing legal challenges from criminal authorities.

That state of affairs, and even additional confusion in the context of employment law, will likely continue to be a reality in California going forward. With the recent passage of law that now allows for the legalized use of marijuana in California for recreational purposes, a growing band of consumers will now face uncertainties posed by employers' policies that bar pot consumption notwithstanding the right to consume under state law.

That can be baffling. Now, in addition to criminal exactions that can still challenge a user who strays from the use boundaries imposed by current laws that do allow for some level of use, legal users can face on-the-job penalties for engaging in an activity that state authorities permit.

Many questions and concerns can understandably arise for California marijuana users who are legally challenged. A proven criminal defense attorney can provide guidance and advocate diligently on their behalf in the event they need legal representation to respond to a criminal charge.

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