Possession of Marijuana for Personal Use
Possession of marijuana in California is charged as a misdemeanor pursuant to CA Health and Safety Code §11357. The consequences for possession of marijuana varies depending on the quantity of marijuana charged, and whether it is for personal use.
Marijuana Possession for sale is a separate and more serious offense which is discussed in other articles on this site.
If charged with possessing 28.5 grams (1 ounce) or less of marijuana (not concentrated cannabis), the only punishment is a fine of no more than $100.
For possession of marijuana (other than concentrated cannabis) in an amount greater than 1 ounce, you may be punished with up to one year in county jail and a fine of no more than $500.
Pursuant to CA HSC §11018, marijuana includes the entire Cannabis sativa L. plant, growing or not, including the seeds, oils produced from the plant, or any other cannabis derivatives,
Although the consequences for marijuana possession may not seem as severe as other drug crimes, a conviction will still show up on your criminal record and may negatively impact job prospects or federal school loan eligibility. Contact a Vista criminal attorney who can investigate and fully prepare your for any marijuana possession or drug possession case.
Possession of Concentrated Cannabis for Personal Use
Possession of concentrated cannabis (like hashish) may be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor. How the prosecutor charges you with possession of concentrated cannabis depends on the facts of your case and criminal record. A felony conviction results in a CA prison sentence of 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years.
What Must the Prosecutor Prove?
1. You unlawfully possessed marijuana or concentrated cannabis;
2. You knew of its presence;
3. You knew of the substance's nature or as marijuana or concentrated cannabis; AND
4. The marijuana or concentrated cannabis was in a usable amount.
However, the prosecution DOES NOT have to prove that you knew the exact type of controlled substance you possessed, only that you were aware that it was a controlled substance.
If you are charged with drug possession in San Diego, the counsel of a criminal attorney focused on these types of cases will give you the most reliable and confident representation for your case. Contact a criminal attorney in San Diego for help with your case.
Possession on School Grounds
If you are over 18 and charged with possession of 1 ounce or less of marijuana on school grounds and during school hours or during school-related programs, it is charged as a misdemeanor but the punishment is increased to a fine of up to $500 and 10 days in county jail, or both.
Possession of Marijuana by a Minor
If you are under 18 and are charged with possession of 1 ounce (28.5 grams) of marijuana or less on school grounds and during school hours or during school-related programs:
• For a first time offense, it is charged as a misdemeanor and punishable by a fine of no more than $250.
• For subsequent offenses, it is still a misdemeanor but punishable by a fine of no more than $500 and "commitment to a juvenile hall, ranch, camp, forestry camp, or secure juvenile home for a period of not more than 10 days, or both..."
• Cultivation of marijuana is a felony under CA HSC §11358.
• Possession for sale of marijuana is a felony under CA HSC §11359.
• Sales of marijuana is a felony under CA HSC § 11360.
Defenses to Marijuana-Related Charges:
A person can be authorized to legally possess marijuana under the Compassionate Use Act (CA HSC §11362.5). Through this California statute an individual who provides evidence of his medical need for the use of medicinal marijuana is permitted to lawfully possess and cultivate marijuana for his personal medical use. A person who is authorized through the permission of a physician to possess medical marijuana may also serve as a primary caregiver for author medical marijuana patients authorized under the states Compassionate Use Act.
There are stated limits on the amounts of Medical Marijuana that a patient is permitted to have however this amount is also subject to a physicians recommendation or approval based on the patients current medical needs.
If convicted of possession of marijuana or concentrated cannabis, you may be eligible for Drug Diversion programs like Proposition 36, Penal Code (PC) 1000, or California Drug Court. Drug Diversion is an important option, as successful completion of these programs often gets the case dismissed. However, these programs are not available for those convicted of marijuana sales, but if you get the charged reduced to personal use, you can be eligible for Drug Diversion.
Contact a San Diego Marijuana Lawyer to get a free consultation and discussion of what options you have for defending your case. An experienced San Diego Marijuana Lawyer is essential in any criminal case involving drug charges.