Marijuana has been decriminalized in California, but marijuana-related drug arrests have not stopped. Even though the laws now allows licensed businesses to sell marijuana, regular citizens face severe criminal penalties for doing the same. In fact, you can be convicted even if you merely gave away marijuana, with no money exchanged. If you or someone you love has been arrested for this, you need to speak to a Los Angeles marijuana sale lawyer.
At the Simmrin Law Group, we can fight these charges. We don’t believe that California’s marijuana laws are fair or balanced—and we know that regular, law abiding citizens get caught up in them all the time. When you call us, we listen to your story and take your side, and give you the best defense possible. Let us offer you a free consultation to discuss your case and how to beat it. Fill out the form to the right or call us at 310-997-4688 and get your free consultation today.
Why is selling or giving away marijuana still illegal in California?
California has long had a law known as HS 11360 which makes it illegal to sell marijuana. In 2016, the voters of California chose to decriminalize the recreational use of marijuana for adults over 21. This led to an amendment to HS 11360 authorizing certain businesses to provide marijuana. Unfortunately, the law does not extend those rights to anyone else. Much like selling liquor, you need a license to do it.
Specifically, the law makes it illegal for you to:
Give it away,
Bring it into the state (importing), or
Transport it for sale
There are exceptions for authorized medical marijuana users and their primary caregivers. Caregivers are allowed to provide them with a small amount of marijuana in keeping with their medical needs.
Breaking this law is normally a misdemeanor, although there are circumstances that can make it a felony. Both versions carry criminal consequences including incarceration.
When is marijuana sale considered a felony in Los Angeles?
You will be charged with the felony version of marijuana sale if any of the following apply to your case:
The person you supposedly “sold” or gave away marijuana to was under 18.
You have 2 or more prior convictions for marijuana sale.
You tried to bring marijuana into or out of California (importing/exporting) and the amount was at least 28.5 grams of leaf or 4 grams of concentrate.
You have a past conviction for a violent felony such as murder, DUI manslaughter, rape or violent sex crimes, a violent crime against a child under 14, or if you are a registered sex offender.
What are the penalties for marijuana sale in Los Angeles?
The misdemeanor penalties include:
Up to 6 months in jail, and
Up to $500 in fines
Felony penalties include:
2, 3 or 4 years in county jail
Status as a convicted felon, which means a lifetime ban on owning firearms and can affect your ability to get a job
Is there any way to avoid jail time for marijuana sale?
Yes, it is possible to avoid jail time in some cases, but it can be complicated—having a lawyer helps. That’s because most drug “possession” charges in California allow you to avoid jail if you go to drug treatment, but this is not an option for marijuana sale. The time is providing marijuana to others, not using it, so the state doesn’t grant addiction treatment as an acceptable outcome.
Instead, your lawyer has to make a case to the judge why you are not a threat to the community and why you can be trusted to learn your lesson and move on. Making an effective case depends on knowing the personality of the particular judge and their past history on other cases. However, if granted, you can receive probation instead of jail time.
Probation is different for misdemeanor and felony cases, but if you complete the probation successfully you can be excused from serving your time in jail.
Of course, the best way to avoid jail time is to avoid being convicted in the first place. A good criminal defense lawyer can help you potentially win your case or simply get the charge reduced to something less serious.
Is it possible to beat a “marijuana sale” charge?
Yes. In fact, these charges can be hard to prove or suffer from weak evidence. Lawyers routinely win marijuana sale cases for their clients.
Some of the possible defenses in a marijuana sale case include:
The marijuana was for personal use only, and you did not intend to sell it.
You didn’t possess the marijuana. Just because it was found near you or in your home does not mean it was yours.
You didn’t know the marijuana was there. It could have been left by someone else, even in your car, without your knowledge.
You didn’t know what it was. If you didn’t realize it was marijuana, you are not guilty.
There isn’t enough evidence against you. Even if the police found evidence, there could be legal problems with it or there could be mitigating factors. This could result in the prosecutor dropping the case or the judge throwing it out.
Entrapment. If an undercover officer pressured you to sell marijuana, you cannot be convicted.
Illegal search and seizure. There are detailed laws about how and when police can search you or your property. If they were broken, you could win your case.
Choosing the right defense depends on your case and the specifics of what happened. You need to speak to a lawyer.
Talk to a Los Angeles Marijuana Sale Lawyer for Free
A single marijuana sale can affect your career, your freedom and the rest of your life. Don’t wait until it’s too late. The Simmrin Law Group offers a FREE consultation—and we know how to win cases. Fill out the form to the right or call us at 310-997-4688 and get your free consultation today.