Marijuana is legal in California in certain circumstances. Adults 21 and over can buy cannabis, and those 18 and over can purchase medical-use marijuana. Adults can possess 28.5 grams of dry cannabis or 8 grams of concentrate.
Anyone under 18 cannot possess or purchase marijuana. When purchasing marijuana at a discrepancy, patrons must show their medical or government-issued identification. Code Section 11357 HS addresses instances where possession of marijuana is a criminal offense.
If you are unsure of CA Health and Safety Code Section 11357 HS and your rights, speak to our local criminal defense lawyers at the Simmrin Law Group.
Marijuana Is a Criminal Offense
11357 HS makes possessing more than the allotted amounts mentioned above a criminal offense. Minors under 21 cannot possess any amount of cannabis unless they have a medical card. The penalties will range depending on the defendant’s age and the infraction’s details.
Possession of marijuana at any K-12 school is illegal. One caveat that is overlooked is school must be in session, but to avoid confusion, many people advise avoiding the action entirely.
Anyone under 21 can obtain marijuana under the compassionate use act, also known as Health & Safety Code 11362.5, which helps patients get the medical care they need without legal ramifications. Physicians can use their discretion when prescribing cannabis, encompassing a range of physical and psychiatric conditions. Examples of some conditions that can benefit from marijuana usage are:
- Chronic pain
- Substance abuse
- And much more
Even with medical use, there are many intricacies, especially if you are under 21. Police officers and prosecutors will argue your need for marijuana and even imply that your id or condition is false. When facing any drug crime, you should discuss your options with a drug crimes lawyer in California.
For a free legal consultation with a lawyer serving California, call (310) 896-2723
Penalties for Marijuana Possession
Proposition 64 made marijuana possession in small amounts for personal or recreational use for adults over 21 legal. If an adult is discovered to be in possession of over a gram of marijuana, it is simple possession and can lead to fines of up to $500 or six months in county jail. Possession of concentrated cannabis by a minor can lead to penalties of $100 for anyone over 18.
Adults between 18 and 21 will receive an infraction and must perform community service and drug counseling. Those under 18 will attend four hours of drug education or counseling and ten hours of community service. Prior convictions result in six hours of counseling or drug education and 20 hours of community service.
Possession of marijuana on school grounds during school hours or after school programs is a misdemeanor offense. The first offense carries a fine of $250. Minors will have community service and drug treatment programs.
Selling marijuana is only legal by licensed businesses, and you can face criminal charges if you sell marijuana in other instances. Since marijuana is not legal on a federal level, you cannot transport it across state lines.
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Possible Legal Defenses
With the legalization of marijuana, there is a lot of confusion, made worse by additional legislation. You need an individual approach to your criminal charges and a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney in California. Common defenses you can use with solid evidence will include the following.
You Don’t Possess Any Marijuana
If you have no marijuana in your possession, then you cannot be guilty of a crime. Sometimes law enforcement will mistake other products for marijuana or say it was yours when it was someone else’s.
If you do have marijuana on you, then you can claim someone slipped the marijuana onto your person to avoid criminal liability. You can also say that the cannabis belongs to someone whose clothing or other items you are borrowing.
You Did Not Know About Marijuana
This defense works similarly to not possessing marijuana. The weed was on your person, but it belonged to someone else.
Possession is one element of a criminal charge. The prosecution must also prove that you had knowledge of the possession.
Authorities Discovered the Marijuana in an Illegal Search
Many California drug offenses result from illegal searches and seizures. A violation of search and seizure laws is when they initiate an unlawful stop, conduct a search without a warrant or search an area beyond the warrant’s scope. Your California drug crimes lawyers can file a motion to suppress evidence which can lead to a reduction or dismissal of your charges.
You Did Not Possess the Marijuana
Some undercover cops will station themselves in public places looking for people selling or possessing drugs. All they care about is that they overheard someone talking about drugs, and they will arrest the person.
Later in the process, they find the person possessed no marijuana. When this happens, the prosecution cannot pursue charges because there were no drugs.
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Related Health and Safety Codes
While Proposition 64 made progress in the legalization and access to cannabis, some laws make these efforts complex. Code 11358 addresses marijuana cultivation, which allows those 21 and over to cultivate six marijuana plants for personal use. The cultivation must be indoors.
Code 11359 addresses the intent to sell marijuana and can lead to misdemeanor convictions. One more law to consider is Code 11361, covering selling marijuana to minors which is a felony offense. Each Health and Safety Code has different penalties, and you must discuss your legal options with a criminal defense lawyer.
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Legal Assistance to Understand Possession of Marijuana
The California Health and Safety Codes address all drug laws and crimes. You will need a criminal defense lawyer in California to assess your charges and how the law applies. The Simmrin Law Group can advise you on how these charges will impact your life and the defense you can use to lower or dismiss your charges.
Our criminal defense attorneys have spent years learning these laws and staying updated with relevant changes. We can review your circumstances during a consultation and determine how to move forward. If you are facing criminal charges, you can complete our contact form or call the office.
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