Marijuana possession in California is prohibited except for certain quantities and specific circumstances. Subsequently, you need to understand the marijuana laws applicable in the state to avoid facing legal trouble. The details can also be helpful after an arrest to help you establish the possible penalties you will meet, depending on your circumstances.
Since marijuana laws vary based on different elements of crime, it is essential to distinguish every case based on the main factors that the prosecutor must prove. Working with an experienced criminal attorney can help you obtain accurate information and prepare solid defenses if the prosecutor files a case against you. As a result, choosing a skilled attorney is an excellent starting point, as they will work towards providing high-quality and beneficial effects.
At California Criminal Lawyer Group, you will work with a reliable team of defense attorneys who understands the specifics of California marijuana laws. We aim to provide exhaustive and accurate details to guide you in avoiding legal violations when handling marijuana. Moreover, we are ready to support you through trial by researching the best defenses applicable to your case.
With our support, you may have better chances of securing a favorable case outcome after a marijuana law violation charge. Our team is ready to assist any client seeking information on marijuana regulation in Anaheim, California.
The Nature of California Marijuana Laws
The California Health and Safety Code is the primary statute applicable to guide and prohibit various marijuana laws. It provides guidelines on marijuana possession, use, and cultivation under different provisions, making it necessary to assess each of them in-depth. Since not all elements of the crime are the same, each condition may reveal different specifications about a marijuana crime. Therefore, you want to broaden your details by consulting your criminal defense attorney if any uncertainties arise.
Most criminal provisions under the health and safety code attract misdemeanor charges, but several offenses are felonies. The distinction between these two charges depends on the nature of your case, including whether any aggravating factors are present. If so, you will be answerable for the harsher charges and risk facing significant fines and sentences. However, your defense attorney is ready to support you and prepare defenses to prevent you from facing the repercussions.
The different types of marijuana laws in California are:
Possession of Marijuana Laws
Possession of marijuana is permissible in many states, but it still faces several restrictions that you need to learn about to avoid criminal charges. Section 11357 of the California Health and Safety Code is the guiding legal provision, and it presents the various regulations to follow to avoid criminal charges.
In California, a proposition passed on 1st January 2018 made it legal to possess marijuana, but in specified quantities. You can now have a maximum of 28.5 grams in your possession without the risk of any legal repercussions or about 8 grams of concentrated marijuana, also known as hashish.
Despite the allowance for possession, restrictions apply to regulate the possession and use of marijuana in public places and prevent exposure to minors. Due to this, the Health and Safety Code provisions require you to use the drug privately, subject to the allowance of other stakeholders like the property owner or landlord.
As a result, you still need to receive approval to possess and use marijuana on any premises you do not own. The persons reserve the right to allow or prohibit marijuana possession and use, meaning that you may still face restrictions beyond the set laws.
Your landlord may restrict marijuana use for various reasons, including the presence of children in the vicinity, personal or religious reasons, and to avoid offsetting smoke detectors in the building. Upon receiving the directives, you need to observe them and find alternative locations to use marijuana to avoid further challenges.
You should also avoid smoking any marijuana in your possession in public places like parks, recreational centers, and hotels, among others. The law also includes punitive measures for possessing marijuana in public in open bags or containers, regardless of whether you intend to use it. These prohibitions aim to protect other persons, especially minors in public, from interacting with the marijuana in your possession.
Offenses Related to Marijuana Possession
Since possession may involve different case circumstances, the Health and Safety Code names various actions amounting to possession crimes. By understanding them, you can better equip yourself to avoid involving yourself in crimes. Some possession crimes include:
Possession of Marijuana in Any K-12 School Premises With Minors Present
A K-12 facility is any school hosting children of tender years, often between six and fifteen years. Since the children attend school there, they are prone to come into contact with a person possessing marijuana, which is detrimental to their development. The law, therefore, prohibits possession in a K-12 school and its surrounding, mainly when learning is in progress. Any violations can lead to fine payments, six months in county jail, or drug counseling orders from the court.
Marijuana Possession for Anyone Below 21 Years
Additionally, persons below twenty-one should not be in possession of marijuana, based on the laws’ protective element to prevent early addiction cases. Subsequently, if you are below twenty-one when facing possession charges, the judge presiding over your case may order you to join a drug counseling program and pay a $100 fine for the offense.
Possessing More Marijuana Quantities Than Legally Provided For
Additionally, exceeding the legally directed possession quantities can also attract misdemeanor penalties. Anyone in possession of amounts exceeding 28.5 grams of marijuana or 8 grams of concentrated cannabis may face up to 6 months in county jail and a fine of up to $500.
Further, if investigation officers find you in possession of significantly more marijuana than is legally acceptable, you are likely to face new charges of possession with intent to sell. The discovery could change the entire trajectory of your case, opening you up to additional investigations and harsher penalties.
Possession With Intent to Sell
Under California Health and Safety Code, Section 11359, you can only sell marijuana with a valid license. Anyone found selling marijuana without the necessary verification violates the provisions and may face severe criminal penalties.
Once you are arrested and charged, the prosecutor will work towards proving your involvement in the offense. They aim to demonstrate that you should be held accountable for the crime by establishing your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Subsequently, they may raise arguments to show that all elements of the crime are present in your case. Every case has varying circumstances, so you can expect the prosecution team to focus on the facts specific to your matter.
For example, if arresting officers retrieve a significant amount of marijuana from you, they can rightfully present the information and advocate for the charge. They do not have to retrieve it from you; they may also have search warrants to check your possessions. If so, they could obtain the large marijuana quantities from your vehicle, house, or personal bags.
Alternatively, you will also face criminal charges if you have weighing scales, small bags, or large bundles of cash. Investigations officers use these possessions to infer your intention to sell, as personal users do not need the abovementioned equipment. Additional incriminating evidence includes the presence of marijuana packaged in many small amounts, indicating the intention to distribute these packets for sale.
Penalties for Possession with Intent to Sell
For first-time offenders, possession with intent to sell attracts misdemeanor charges. Subsequently, an offender may face up to six months in county jail or an order to pay up to $500 in fines. The court may also order you to surrender any other unrecovered marijuana to avoid future rearrests.
Alternatively, the charge can result in felony charges in specific circumstances. For example, if you are a past offender convicted of serious crimes like sexual assault, murder, robbery with violence, vehicular manslaughter, or rape, you will face felony penalties.
Any person with two or more convictions for possession of marijuana with the intent to sell also faces felony charges, which include spending two, three, or five years in state prison. Consulting your defense attorney on navigating these charges is essential, as they will give you insights on the best defenses applicable.
Marijuana Cultivation Laws
Under Section 11358 of the California Health and Safety Code, you can grow marijuana for personal use, provided you meet several criteria. Firstly, you must be above twenty-one years or risk facing legal penalties. Additionally, the law restricts marijuana cultivation to six plants per person to prevent the potential possession of more marijuana than required.
The cultivation laws further direct you to grow the plants in private locations, preferably indoors, to prevent drawing attention from minors and other vulnerable groups like recovering addicts. Based on these laws, you need to find a secure location that does not compromise your space or well-being but also complies with the legal provisions.
Penalties for Failure to Observe Marijuana Cultivation Laws
If you face arrest for failing to plant the required number of marijuana plants as directed, you risk facing misdemeanor or felony penalties. As a misdemeanor, you may face up to six months in county jail or pay a fine of up to $500.
The prosecutor charges you with a felony offense if you have previously faced two or more charges for planting more than six marijuana plants. Past offenders with violent criminal offense records also face felony charges, resulting in a sentence of two, three, or five years in state prison.
Laws Related to Medical Marijuana
Patients suffering from severe conditions may require alternative remedies to manage their pain. Over the years, marijuana has proven to be a suitable pain remedy with effective results, gaining approval for medical use. In California, Proposition 215 brought about the legality of medical marijuana use, which aims to help patients suffering from serious ailments.
The California Compassionate Use Act of 1996 further supports this position by allowing the use of marijuana as a medical remedy. However, the patient must meet various requirements to validate the need for marijuana use. These applicable restrictions help prevent third parties who do not suffer from severe medical conditions from abusing the medical marijuana usage privilege.
Some requirements that a patient must meet to pass the medical use test include the following:
You Should Provide Supporting Evidence of Your Diagnosis
Presenting supporting documents is necessary, especially a diagnostic note from the doctor. The verification is required because the doctor’s professional opinion is based on verified tests. You can contact your doctor for additional tests and a final diagnostic report if you have not received the results.
Additional evidence includes prescription documents indicating the need for further remedies to support your current medication. If so, contact your medical service provider in advance to receive the documents. Afterward, you will receive your medical ID and obtain the marijuana in the prescribed amounts.
You Should Have a Primary Caregiver
Establishing that you have a primary caregiver is also instrumental in receiving the necessary marijuana dosage, and they should meet the preliminary requirements set. Firstly, the caregiver should be able to transport, possess or administer marijuana to you as the patient. They need to understand the importance of helping you manage your condition without enabling drug abuse.
Additionally, a doctor should verify and allow the primary caregiver before they take on their role. The verification process may include checking their background, ensuring they understand the role of marijuana medication in the treatment, and determining their ability to hold the drugs responsibly.
Medical marijuana should be used responsibly to avoid severe outcomes related to its abuse. With proper administration, the drug can be beneficial for patients. Conversely, abuse will attract serious effects, including discontinued treatment.
Importing, Transporting, and Selling Marijuana
Venturing into marijuana imports and sales is permissible in California, subject to obtaining a selling license from the Bureau of Cannabis Control. The application process is helpful because it verifies the work processes you intend to use throughout the business, especially legal compliance.
Due to the licensing requirement for anyone looking to sell marijuana, failure to have valid documentation violates Section 11360 of the California Health and Safety Code. The prosecution team works to demonstrate that you lacked correct authorization to undertake the business, meaning that any transaction you have made is invalid.
Examples of evidential sources relevant to the case include financial records that indicate ongoing transactions. Investigation officers can retrieve these details from your business premises or through a third-party tip-off into the illegal business.
Although making marijuana sales is generally punishable under the Health and Safety Code provisions, you may avoid facing legal repercussions under various technicalities. Firstly, if the amount you transported or held was less than 28.5 grams, you did not commit a crime. Nonetheless, you will need
Selling Marijuana to a Minor
Minors are a vulnerable group in society and need protection, including from drug access. Due to this, selling marijuana to anyone under eighteen is a criminal offense that attracts felony charges. The prohibitory provision under Section 11361 of the Health and Safety Code also specifies the age brackets of minors and possible repercussions for an offender.
Although presenting the minor in court is not always possible, the prosecutor can request that the child identify you as the offender in a separate meeting. They conduct a lineup to ensure your identity is correctly tied to the offense. Afterward, the trial begins as the prosecutor builds on their arguments.
In court, the prosecutor focuses on proving the minor’s age as the first step by presenting their birth certificate, medical coverage, and any other relevant documents. Additionally, they will consolidate evidence tying you to the action, including footage, testimony, and police reports obtained after your arrest.
To demonstrate that the transaction occurred, the prosecution team can present the specific amounts the minor gave you in exchange for the marijuana. They may also retrieve the particular quantity of marijuana you sold to the child to demonstrate that the transaction was two-way.
Alternatively, testimony from the investigation police or the witnesses who reported the incident can help the prosecutor’s case. The details may frame the circumstances leading to the sale and the minor’s involvement throughout the transaction. If the details are satisfactory to the court, they may be sufficient to warrant a conviction.
Apart from selling marijuana to a minor, you may be answerable for using the child for trafficking. Each case presents different circumstances, and you may face arrest for helping the minor peddle marijuana, which requires them to market and push the drug to potential buyers.
Further, you may also face arrest and prosecution for using the minor to package and transport marijuana, as it amounts to trafficking. Transportation may be accomplished by carrying a bag and handing it to a different party for sale and distribution.
Using minors to administer drugs is also illegal, calling for severe felony penalties. Distributing marijuana involves rolling it up into smokable pieces called joints and passing them to whoever wants to smoke them. Overall, involvement in all these actions violates marijuana laws against selling to a minor in California.
Penalties for Selling to a Minor
After your trial concludes, the presiding judge issues a sentence based on the nature of your charges. The minor’s age is also a significant consideration that influences the sentence you receive.
If you sold marijuana to a minor under fourteen, you risk facing three, five, or seven years in state prison. For marijuana sales to children above the age of fourteen, you may face three, four, or five years in state prison, depending on the extent of the offense.
Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana
Operating a vehicle requires mental concentration to avoid endangering yourself and other road users. Due to the effect marijuana has on your brain, the law prohibits driving under the influence under Section 23222(b) of the California Vehicle Code. Specifically, the law prohibits you from driving while possessing any amount of marijuana greater than 28.5 grams.
If found guilty of the offense, you face repercussions similar to those issued under an alcohol DUI. As a first-time offender, you may face up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1000. Repeat offenders may also face harsher repercussions, including a felony charge, if the DUI resulted in subsequent accidents or fatalities.
Although you may have used the marijuana long before driving, you may still be liable for the offense if chemical tests reveal traces of drugs in your body. Traffic police officers obtain this information by subjecting you to the tests soon after your arrest, with the help of trained professionals.
Notably, refusal to comply with the test obligations can attract harsher penalties, including sentence enhancements. Cooperation is, therefore, essential, and your defense attorney will provide directives on any necessary follow-up steps you need to take.
Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney Near Me
While marijuana laws have some allowances for possession and use, many prohibitions still exist, putting you at risk of arrest for handling marijuana. You can protect yourself from these legal repercussions by learning about the California marijuana laws governing how you access, possess, and use the drug. In doing so, you will equip yourself with the information necessary to avoid facing arrest and subsequent legal penalties that could interfere with your everyday life and limit your liberty.
When researching California marijuana laws, consider partnering with a legal professional who understands their various aspects and how they may affect you. By working with a lawyer, you can access information faster and receive clarification on any provisions you do not understand.
At California Criminal Lawyer Group, we provide legal services targeted toward helping you obtain clear information on marijuana possession, cultivation, and use in California. We are also ready to provide advice if you intend to try ventures into legal marijuana businesses to help you avoid facing legal hurdles related to illegal marijuana possession.
Our team is also well-equipped to help you combat any criminal charges you face, increasing the possibility of a favorable outcome. If you or a loved one has inquiries about California marijuana laws in Anaheim, California, schedule an appointment with us by calling 714-766-0965.