Marijuana possession laws have seen significant changes in the last few years. Compassionate Use Laws allow persons with a lawful prescription and a valid medical marijuana card to possess dried cannabis up to eight ounces per patient. Under these and other acceptable circumstances, the California courts now refrain from meting out punishment for possessing less than an ounce of marijuana.
Changing Legal Landscape for Marijuana Possession & Consumption
Legal permission to use medical marijuana and legalization of possession (under one ounce) were the harbingers of changes in California marijuana laws in 1996. The 2016 voter approval of Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, saw more remarkable relaxation in the marijuana laws of the state.
This act states that purchase, possession, and consumption of marijuana up to an ounce in private residences or in licensed marijuana consumption establishments, is legal for adults of age 21 or over. In January 2018, the imposition of 15 percent excise accompanied the licensing to legally produce and sell recreational marijuana.
Penalties for Possession
Possession of marijuana can lead to you losing your license for a year if you are under 21. You may need an experienced California marijuana defense lawyer to avoid a DMV penalty.
You may face a misdemeanor charge with the possibility of a jail or prison sentence for more than one ounce of marijuana in your possession. First-time offenders seldom get a jail term as the California courts offer a deferred entry of judgment (DEJ) program.
A conviction for possession of hashish or concentrated cannabis can mean a term in the county jail or state prison. Deferred entry of judgment and Proposition 36 are available, based on the circumstances.
Possession and Intent to Sell
Charges for possession with an intention to sell can lead to probation or imprisonment in county jail or state prison, based on the circumstances of the case. The best defense strategy, in this case, is to try and convince the court that the possession was for personal use, and the intent to sell did not exist.
The defendant also needs to downplay the significance of any paraphernalia such as smoking devices and rolling papers found in their possession at the time of the arrest. A person with no previous criminal history has a chance of a favorable outcome, however we have successfully helped many clients with prior criminal convictions as well.
Cultivation of Marijuana
A conviction for cultivating marijuana without compassionate use protections or a license to sell, might lead to a prison term. However, probation is the most likely outcome for planting or harvesting marijuana, depending upon the plant numbers and the harvest size.
Federal Laws are Different
It is important to note that the federal government does not share California's open-minded attitude towards marijuana possession, sale, or cultivation. Federal agencies sometimes seek arrest for marijuana cultivation under some related pretext such as extra energy consumption on the premises.
Get Help from Experienced California Criminal Defense Attorneys
With the fast-changing legal landscape, you will need the guidance from an expert and resourceful attorney to understand your rights if you are charged with a marijuana-related offense. The attorneys at the Kann California Law Group understand the ins and out of the new marijuana laws and can help you with your case.
We have years of experience helping clients through the entire criminal process, including helping clients clear their records when laws change. We can talk about your case during a free confidential consultation, so contact us online today, or call 888-744-7730 to see how we can help!
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