Bud tenders show patients different strains of marijuana in jars at a Humboldt County dispensary. The state’s recreational cannabis market opens Jan. 1, 2018, after voters approved Proposition 64 in 2016. – Times-Standard file

Hundreds of new laws took effect on Jan. 1, 2018. Many of them directly affect the day-to-day lives of average Californians.

Here are some of changes for 2018:


Recreational sales >> While Gov. Jerry Brown signed more than 800 new laws in 2017, one of the bigger changes for the state in the coming year is a voter-approved measure passed by voters in November 2016. The state’s recreational cannabis market will open at the start of the year as a result of the Proposition 64, which allows buyers age 21 or older to purchase up to one ounce of cannabis and up to 8 grams of concentrates. While not all cities and counties are on board with the new laws, there are various spots across the state where state-permitted sales will be legal.

Pot use in cars >> Senate Bill 65 expands the existing laws about alcohol use in cars to include prohibitions for the use of marijuana in vehicles. The new law makes it illegal to smoke or ingest cannabis with driving or riding as a passenger in a vehicle. “Law enforcement anticipates an increase in DUI resulting from the legalization of recreational cannabis,” a California Highway Patrol news release stated.

On the job

Pay increases >> Minimum wage jumps up by 50 cents as the state moves toward a $15 per hour minimum wage by 2020. On Jan. 1, 2018, employees of companies with 26 employees or more will see wages increase to $11 per hour; those in businesses with 25 employees or fewer will be paid $10.50 per hour. Salaried employees must make at least $45,760 per year to be exempt from the increase.

Parental leave >> Employees who are new parents will have up to 12 weeks of unpaid maternity or paternity leave — including parents who adopt or foster children. The new law also protects employees from losing their job or benefits as a result of taking time off to be a new parent.


Ammo sales >> Ammunition sales in the new year will need to happen through a licensed vendor under Assembly Bill 693. The new law also applies to online sales of ammunition. Those who purchase ammo online will have to have it shipped to a licensed dealer and pick up the purchase in person.

Open carry >> Assembly Bill 7 closes a loophole in current gun laws and prohibits carrying unloaded shotguns and rifles in unincorporated areas of a county where a shooting ban is in place.


Community college >> The first year of community college is free under Assembly Bill 19, which waives tuition fees for first-time students who are enrolled in 12 or more units per semester and qualify for aid through a FAFSA application. It also applies to students who qualify under the California Dream Act.

Feminine hygiene >> Public middle and high schools who have a high percentage of low-income students will be required to provide free feminine hygiene products in at least half of the bathrooms in the school under Assembly Bill 10.


Sanctuary state >> California officially becomes a sanctuary state at the start of the year, which means local law enforcement agencies will be restricted from communicating the immigration status of suspects in custody. One exception to the rule applies to those who were convicted of felonies in the past 15 years.

Immigration status >> All of the state’s public schools will be banned from collecting information about the immigration status of students and their families. The bans apply to K-12, state community colleges and all CSU and UC schools.

Ruth Schneider can be reached at 707-441-0520.

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