California residents have had the privilege of access to medical marijuana since 1996, and since 2016 have been able to purchase and use marijuana recreationally without fear of violating any state-level laws. Under the laws pertaining to recreational use, transfer, transport, and possession of cannabis, any adult of legal age may be in possession of up to 28.5 grams of “flower,” the psychoactive plant matter traditionally smoked, or up to 8 grams of concentrated cannabis, which comes in the form of oils, waxes, and a variety of other products with increased THC content.
Many people may be surprised to learn that there are still a variety of charges that someone can face involving marijuana, which commonly involve crimes of trafficking or distribution. There are numerous ways for these crimes to be committed, which we will discuss in greater detail below.
If you have been charged with any type of marijuana-related crime in the state of California, contact the Law Office of Vikas Bajaj, APC as soon as possible. You will be able to schedule a free initial consultation, where you will be able to speak directly with an experienced legal professional about the circumstances of your arrest and charges. We have a history of cases where we have successfully defended clients against many different marijuana charges, and during your consultation, we can talk about these past cases and how they are similar or different to your own.
Read more below about some specifics regarding marijuana crimes in California, but keep in mind that each case is unique, and will require a unique approach in order to maximize your chances of a successful outcome. The sooner we are working together, the sooner we will be able to understand the specifics of your situation and start to develop a plan for your case.
California Marijuana Crimes
Before California approved recreational marijuana to be sold, purchased, and consumed by legal adults over the age of 21 under Proposition 64 by 57% to 43%. Adults are allowed to be in possession of up to an ounce of unprocessed marijuana, or 8 grams of concentrated products, and are also allowed to grow up to six plants on their own private property for private use. Individuals or organizations involved in the retail manufacture and distribution of marijuana require additional state licensing in order to produce or transact cannabis.
While cannabis is legally allowed by the state of California in the aforementioned contexts, it is still a federal crime to cultivate, possess, sell, or use marijuana with a THC content in excess of 0.3%. This means that any actions that fall under federal jurisdiction, such as transporting cannabis over state lines, are federal crimes and will be charged as such. Additionally, there is a variety of state-level violations that can result in serious charges stemming from marijuana.
Supplying a Minor with Marijuana
Much like alcohol, furnishing marijuana or THC-containing products for a minor under the age of 21 is a crime under California law, and if you are charged with this violation, there can be some fairly serious consequences. If the recipient is between the ages of 14-20 and you give them (not sell) marijuana, you may face consequences of between 3-5 years in state prison under the California Health and Safety Code 11361. However, you may face up to 7 years in state prison if you are selling the marijuana, the recipient is under the age of 14, or you are inducing a minor to use, sell, or transport marijuana.
Selling Marijuana Without a License
Under the recreational laws for marijuana use in California, there are additional guidelines and licensing requirements for all those involved in the supply side of the industry. With these licenses, individuals or organizations are allowed to cultivate more than six plants, transport more than 1 ounce, and sell marijuana of any amount. Without these licenses, anyone exceeding these limits or selling marijuana products is violating state law and will be subject to any and all penalties associated with these violations.
If you are licensed by the state to cultivate, sell, or transport marijuana for commercial purposes, then you will be required to adhere to a very specific set of guidelines that sets forth the amounts you may possess and transport, the way you may sell the products, and more. However, if you are a private, unlicensed individual, you are limited by the terms of the recreational allowances set forth by California. This means that if you are found to be in possession of more than 1 ounce of marijuana flower, or more than 8 grams of concentrated cannabis products, you are technically in violation of the law.
In addition to the limits on the quantity that you may be in possession of at one time, you will be facing federal charges of trafficking if you are found transporting any amount of marijuana across state lines. The severity of the charges will depend on the quantity of the cannabis that you are found in possession of, as well as whether or not there is an indication that you intended to sell or distribute the marijuana once you had crossed the border.
In some cases, people may be found to be importing marijuana across state or federal borders. If you are arrested for transporting marijuana across the border between Mexico and the United States, California and another state border, or charged with being involved with a conspiracy to transport marijuana across these borders, you can be charged with federal trafficking crimes. When you are charged with a federal crime, you may face a mandatory minimum if convicted, which is set forth by the United States Sentencing Commission. These charges are very serious, and working with an experienced attorney is essential.
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These are only a small sample of possible charges that an individual can face in California regarding marijuana, even though recreational use is allowed under specific circumstances. If you have been charged with any marijuana-related crime in San Diego, contact us as soon as possible to begin building your defense and working towards a positive outcome for your situation.