Smoking pot while driving or riding in a car in California will soon be punishable with a fine

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LA Times Patrick McGreevy 9\11\17

With state-licensed marijuana sales months away, Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday signed a bill that prohibits smoking or consuming cannabis while driving or riding in a vehicle in California.

The measure was written by Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) in anticipation of the state’s Jan. 1 start of marijuana sales for recreational use. The new law makes a violation punishable with a $70 fine.

It is already illegal to drive while intoxicated with marijuana and to have an open bag of cannabis in a motor vehicle. The new law bans actually smoking marijuana or consuming cannabis edibles while driving or riding in a vehicle. It is similar to open container laws that prohibit drinking while driving.

In proposing the law, Hill cited a 2012 study by the California Office of Traffic Safety that found more weekend nighttime drivers in California tested positive for marijuana than alcohol.

The governor vetoed another marijuana bill that would have barred marijuana packaging that could appeal to children, such as wrappers that make edibles look like candy. Brown said his administration is already drafting rules to keep children away from marijuana.