New Laws On Recreational Pot, Ride-Sharing, Minimum Wage Begin Jan 1st

Voter-approved recreational pot sales begin on Monday for some California cities, but not others.  Local approval is required before retailers can apply for a state license to sell cannabis products.  Los Angeles gave the go-ahead earlier this month, and San Francisco, San Diego, Oakland and San Jose did the same.  Other cities, like Riverside, Fresno, Bakersfield, Pasadena and Anaheim are not allowing pot businesses to start with the new year. 

Pot Banned For Drivers, Riders In Vehicles

Recreational pot becomes legal in California on Monday, but don't light up in a car.  It will be illegal to smoke or consume marijuana in any form while in a vehicle, for both drivers and passengers.  Violations will cost 70 dollars.

Several Ride Sharing Laws To Take Effect

Several laws pertaining to ride sharing services will take effect at the start of 2018 . They include increasing background check requirements for drivers, allowing prospective drivers to take out short-term leases on cars, and tightening DUI rules for all ride-hailing drivers.  AB 650 will also create a statewide taxi commission, so cab companies can better compete with Uber and Lyft.

CA Becomes Sanctuary State Monday

California officially becomes a sanctuary state on Monday.  That's when Senate Bill 54 takes effect, limiting how much local law enforcement can help federal immigration authorities.  President Trump has threatened financial retaliation to cities adopting the stance.  Supporters say it will keep two-point-three-million illegal immigrants safe.

Tougher Sentences When Crimes Live-Streaming On Facebook

A new California law is targeting those who record violent crimes on social media.  The law, which goes into effect Monday, calls for tougher sentences and penalties for anyone who "willfully recorded a video" while an attack is happening.  The law leaves the tougher sentences up to a judge.

CA Minimum Wage Going Up

California's minimum wage is going up again.  Beginning in 2018, the state minimum wage will rise to eleven-dollars an hour for most businesses.  Workers at the smallest companies will see their pay go up to ten dollars and 50-cents an hour.  The minimum wage hike is part of a 2016 law that will see it increase every year until 2022.

New Laws For Ammo Sales

Folks in California looking to buy ammo need to follow new laws starting Monday.  Ammunition purchases must be made in person through an authorized firearms and ammo vendor.  People can still by ammo online, but it must be shipped to a licensed vendor for pickup.

School Employees No Longer Allowed Concealed Weapons On Campuses

If you work at a school in California, keep that gun at home.  A new 2018 law bans all state school employees from carrying a concealed weapon onto campus.  Before the new law, school superintendents were allowed to use their own discretion on a case-by-case basis. 

Baby Changing Stations In Public Restrooms

Dads no longer have an excuse when it comes to diaper changing duties in California.  Starting Monday, diaper-changing stations will be a requirement in both women's and men's public bathrooms. This applies to new construction or restrooms that undergo significant renovations.

Bullhooks Used to Control Elephants Banned In California

The use of bullhooks to handle and control elephants will become illegal in California Monday.  Dozens of celebrities sent Governor Jerry Brown a letter urging him to end what they call inhumane treatment of the animals.  One California lawmaker says banning bullhooks removes horrific treatment against the gentle giants.

Knowingly Exposing Others To HIV Downgraded To Misdemeanor From Felony

Knowingly exposing a sexual partner to HIV without disclosing the infection is now a misdemeanor instead of a felony in California.  Some state lawmakers say modern medicine allows those with HIV to live longer lives and eliminates the possibility of transmission.  One lawmaker argues a possible felony may convince people not to be tested for HIV.

Bars To Give Free Rides To Drunks

Restaurants and bars can give free rides to folks who have had too much to drink starting Monday.  The new state law says the businesses can give codes or vouchers for ridesharing services.  The companies are not allowed to use the free rides as incentives for people to buy more drinks.

No More Male Or Female On Cali Driver's Licenses

Starting Monday, folks in California will no longer be forced to choose between male or female on official forms.  SB 179 is offering a gender-neutral option on state documents such as driver's licenses.  The law also says people can change their gender on their birth certificates without seeing a doctor.

Easier For Juveniles Criminals To Get Out

It will be easier for people who committed crimes as children or teens to get out of prison in 2018.  A California new law states no juvenile offenders will have to serve life without parole and those already behind bars would become eligible for release after 25 years.  Governor Jerry Brown recently signed nine bills to help young people facing charges and serving time.

Photo: Getty Images

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