Air America makes the claim that a system of “marijuana apartheid” has been created in which the drug has been decriminalized for the wealthy and educated but not for the poor:
Pot in California is only legal for those of a certain class, or those who live in certain areas. It is effectively illegal in most communities of color. It’s not legal for pot smokers in many conservative counties and municipalities. And it’s effectively out of reach for California’s poor.
Marijuana is only legal for those who have $100-$300 to fork over for a medical marijuana card (you don’t get any pot in return), who live in an area where there are medical marijuana dispensaries (generally liberal-minded, gentrified areas), who have proof of residence, and who don’t fit the stereotypical image of a drug dealer.
Just the $100-$300 barrier alone means that pot’s still illegal for anyone who lives paycheck to paycheck. Add to that the fees cash-strapped California counties can charge to issue the card (in Sonoma it’ll run you another $160 on top of the doctor’s visit). If you earn a living wage, yes, you can use marijuana without fear of arrest. Work a minimum wage job, and pot’s as illegal as it ever was.