Since 2016, California law has made it legal to have a small amount of concentrated cannabis (marijuana resin or hash) for adults 21 and older. However, if you have more than 4 grams, or if you are not 21, it remains illegal. And it can carry jail time for a first offense, regardless of if you were selling the concentrate or not.
If you have been arrested for possessing this controlled substance, do not take chances with this law. You need to talk to a Los Angeles possession of concentrated cannabis and hash defense attorney who can help you navigate California’s marijuana laws, even with the partial “decriminalization” the state has experienced.
What Is Concentrated Cannabis?
Not all marijuana-derived products count as concentrated cannabis. Concentrated cannabis is a resin which has been separated from marijuana plants, essentially delivering a much more intense amount of THC (marijuana’s active ingredient). Generally, imported concentrated cannabis will be in bricks while the local or “homemade” version will be more of a liquid.
Concentrated cannabis goes by a number of names, including:
- Hash, hash oil, or hashish
- Marijuana resin
- Wax or “earwax”
- Honey oil
It may also be called BHO or butane hash oil, referring to one way in which it can be produced. Concentrated cannabis typically includes the kind of marijuana product used in vaping.
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Why Is Concentrated Cannabis Still Illegal in Los Angeles?
Hash oil remains highly regulated because it delivers such a concentrated dose of THC. A relatively small amount of resin can produce much stronger highs than a marijuana leaf, and large doses can be dangerous.
Originally, possessing concentrated cannabis in any amount was illegal under a state law known as HS 11357. However, that changed in November 2016, when Californians voted to decriminalize marijuana for recreational use (Proposition 64). This led to an amended set of laws that allows small amounts of concentrated cannabis following very strict rules:
- You must be 21 or older
- The amount you possess must be 4 grams or less
- You cannot sell it or give it away, it is for personal use only
- You cannot import or export it or take it across state lines
If you use concentrated cannabis for medical purposes, you are allowed to possess more than the 4 gram limit, but only if it is necessary to treat a serious medical condition. Even though state law allows this, police often arrest people with more than 4 grams.
It is up to you and your Los Angeles possession of concentrated cannabis and hash defense attorney to prove that you had a valid medical reason to have more, with a written doctor’s note.
Los Angeles Possession of Concentrated Cannabis Defense Lawyer Near Me (310) 928-9347
Are You Allowed to Produce Your Own Concentrated Cannabis?
Legally, you are allowed to produce your own concentrated cannabis (for personal use only) through several methods:
- Dissolving it in butter or another lipid that is not a chemical process
- Ice water
However, if you use any kind of chemical process to extract the resin, it is illegal. This is because of California’s drug manufacturing laws. In fact, since cannabis remains a Schedule 1 controlled substance, using any kind of chemical extraction on marijuana is a felony. If you face a felony charge, it is vital that you contact a Los Angeles, CA drug crimes lawyer. The penalties for a felony conviction can be severe.
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What Are the Penalties for Possessing Concentrated Cannabis in California?
The punishment you may be facing for a possession of concentrated cannabis or hash charge in California depends on the circumstances. For example:
- Possessing more than 4 grams is usually a misdemeanor carrying six months in jail and up to $500 in fines.
- Possession with the intent to sell (without a license) is typically a misdemeanor and carries up to six months in jail. However, it can become a felony with much longer sentences if you have a criminal record or intended to sell to someone under 18.
- Unlawful transportation or sale carries the same penalties as intent to sell, and can become a felony for the same reasons.
- Unlawful production of concentrated cannabis is more serious:
- Producing more than 4 grams using many methods is a misdemeanor with the same six-month sentence.
- Producing any amount using butane (or any chemical process) is a felony with up to $50,000 in fines and up to seven years in state prison.
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Can You Get Drug Treatment Instead of Jail Time?
If this charge is your first or second concentrated cannabis offense, and you are a nonviolent offender, you may be able to have your jail time waived so long as you complete drug treatment. This requires a defense lawyer to help you plead guilty.
It may even be possible to win your case with no jail time, drug treatment, or conviction at all with an experienced possession of concentrated cannabis defense lawyer in L.A.
Defenses Your Lawyer Can Make for Your Possession Charges
Just because you were arrested for the sale or possession of concentrated cannabis, it does not necessarily mean the charges will be sustained in court. Your defense attorney can make any of the following legal defenses to your charges of possession of hash:
- The controlled substance belonged to someone else
- You didn’t know it was there
- You didn’t know that it was hash or concentrated cannabis
- You are legally entitled to use medical marijuana
- You are the primary caregiver for a medical marijuana patient
- The hash was found during an illegal search and seizure
Defenses to charges of the unlawful sale, transport, or possession of concentrated cannabis with intent to sell may include:
- The substance was intended solely for your personal use
- There is insufficient evidence of your intent to sell the hash
- There is insufficient evidence that an actual sale took place
- You were the victim of entrapment or other police misconduct
Marijuana laws can be quite complicated, especially where concentrated cannabis is concerned. So, it’s important you have a possession of concentrated cannabis defense lawyer in Los Angeles who understands state laws and can make sure you’re well protected.
Statute of Limitations for THC Concentrates in California
A statute of limitations is a deadline that is defined by level of offense. Prosecutors have a certain amount of time to file formal charges against a defendant to pursue legal penalties.
All misdemeanors under California law have a statute of limitations of one year. If a person owns more than 8 grams or distributes THC concentrates, he or she should expect to face felony charges. Felonies have a statute of limitations of three years in California, unless murder or other heinous crimes are committed in conjunction.
Talk to a Los Angeles Concentrated Cannabis Defense Lawyer for Free
Regardless of your level of guilt and why you are facing these charges, our team at Simmrin Law Group is here for you. We will listen to you, take your side, and help you fight the possession of an illegal substance charge.
A single arrest for concentrated cannabis or hash can affect your freedom, your career and your future. Don’t let this charge ruin your life. Our defense attorneys will give you a FREE consultation and help you defend yourself. Give us a call and we can get started today.