Under California marijuana laws, adults above the age of 21 may possess, purchase, or consume marijuana of up to 28.5 grams in a private residence or licensed establishment. Marijuana laws are demonstrated under various factors of the crime, including possession, selling to minors, cultivation, driving under the influence of marijuana, etc. However, breaking marijuana laws could lead to severe penalties and punishments for the offender.
Therefore, you need an experienced attorney’s assistance to investigate your case and build a strong defense for the best outcomes. At the California Criminal Lawyer Group, we consider your case strengths and weaknesses then draft a strong defense to help fight your charges. Additionally, we have a history of success and satisfaction with our clients across San Jose.
Recreational Use of Marijuana
In California, using marijuana for recreational purposes became legal in January 2018. Proposition 64 approved the law governing the recreational use of marijuana for adults above 21 years. Although it doesn't give enough freedom to buy, grow, and smoke marijuana anywhere. According to the law, adults above 21years may possess up to eight grams of cannabis concentrate per day. Additionally, you may possess up to 1 ounce of dried marijuana.
The law also permits growing up to six plants for personal use out of public view. However, you can't eat, smoke, eat, vape, or consume cannabis in public areas, including schools, restaurants, public parks, hospitals, and other public buildings. Possession of marijuana to people under 18 is punishable as an infraction. Possessing more than the required amount is treated as a misdemeanor in California, punishable by imprisonment for six months in county jail and a fine up to five hundred dollars.
Restrictions of Selling and Transporting Marijuana
California law defines the crime for transportation as transportation for sale. You may face charges for transporting marijuana when traveling by any means, including bicycling, walking, riding a motorcycle, and other transport means with Marijuana intending to sell it. If you are over 18, marijuana transportation is a misdemeanor in California with the following penalties.
- Imprisonment up to half a year in jail
- A fine not exceeding 500 USD
However, if you have previous drug convictions, You might face felony charges resulting in imprisonment up to four years in county jail.
Where to Consume Marijuana In California
Cannabis and marijuana consumption must take place in a private area. Additionally, onsite consumption is allowed in spaces or businesses that hold a commercial marijuana consumption license. Vaping or smoking in designated non-smoking zones is an infraction. Consumption of marijuana is not permitted, either by riding or driving passengers. Having an open container in your car isn't allowed. To ride a bicycle under the influence of marijuana is illegal.
The California Controlled Substances Act, marijuana is considered a schedule one drug. However, Proposition 64 legalizes adults to use marijuana for personal use. Marijuana laws are demonstrated under the following elements in California:
Possession of Marijuana - HS 11357
In California, possessing less than 28.5 grams of marijuana for personal use is legal for people aged 21 and above. Additionally, possessing concentrated cannabis up to 8 grams is also legal. However, one should consume or smoke in private parts with the consent of the property owner. Moreover, marijuana should not be smoked in areas where the smoking of tobacco is legally prohibited.
When is Possessing Marijuana a Crime In California?
Possessing marijuana under the following is a crime punishable as a California infraction or California misdemeanor:
- Anyone under 21 years is possessing marijuana.
- When the defendant possesses more than 4 grams of concentrated cannabis or more than 28.5 grams of marijuana.
- When someone possesses concentrated marijuana or cannabis on any K-12 school grounds, while the school is still in progress.
Penalties For Possessing Marijuana In California
In California, possession of marijuana is punishable as either a misdemeanor or infraction to the offender. The punishment of possession of marijuana as infarction include:
- Possession of concentrated cannabis or marijuana by people under 21 years of age, the crime is punishable by community service or drug counseling for defendants under 18 years and a fine not exceeding 100 USD for defendants with 18years and above.
- Possessing more than 4 grams of concentrated cannabis or possessing more than 28.5 grams of marijuana by defendants under 18 years is punishable by community service and drug counseling.
- Possessing concentrated cannabis or marijuana on the grounds of K-12 school by defendants with 18years and below is punishable by community service and drug counseling.
When the offense is a Misdemeanor, the punishment includes:
- Possessing more than 4 grams of concentrated cannabis or possessing more than 28.5 grams of marijuana by defendants of 18 years and below is punishable by imprisonment for up to 6 months and a fine not exceeding 500 USD.
- Possessing concentrated cannabis or marijuana on the ground of a K-12 school for defendants with 18years and above is punishable with a fine of up to 250 USD for a first-time offense.
Fighting a California HS 11357 Charge
Prop 64 isn't a guarantee the defendant will face charges of possessing marijuana. Notably, minors possessing any amount of marijuana or adults possessing more than an ounce of the pot will face marijuana possession charges' penalties. However, the defendant has a chance to defend themselves before the court. The common defenses for illegal marijuana possession include:
- You Didn't Possess Marijuana
The defendant will be guilty when they don't possess marijuana. For instance, when the police officers mistook someone's pot for your own. The defense will work since the defendant isn't in the control of the drug. The defendant may claim :
- Someone else slipped their pot into your pocket for them to avoid their liability.
- The drug belonged to your friend; you had borrowed their bag or clothes.
- The Marijuana Discovery Was Through An Illegal Seizure and Search
Law enforcement officers may violate the California seizure and search laws when they find drug by:
- Initiating an illegal stop
- Executing in a search without a valid search warrant
- The law officers engage in a search location beyond the scope of the valid warrant.
If any of the above issues arise, the defendant’s California marijuana attorney may file a PC 1538.5, aiming to suppress the evidence. Once the lawyer is successful, they could significantly reduce the charges or even dismissal of the charges.
- The Defendant Did Not Know About Possessing Marijuana
If the defendant possessed the drug while unaware, they should not face a conviction for violating the law. Notably, possession of marijuana isn't enough by itself to result in a sentence. If your friend leaves their pot with marijuana in your car without involving you, you're not guilty of the offense.
Under California, HS 11358 allows people above 21 years to cultivate marijuana plants, not exceeding six plants. However, marijuana must be grown indoors unless you have permission to do so by the local regulation. Notably, when grown, the plant must be in a secure place not accessible to minors.
In California, people below 21 years old, growing any marijuana, are guilty of an infraction. When the defendant is under 18 years, the law requires them to perform community service and attend drug counseling. People with 18years but under 21 years unlawfully growing marijuana might find a fine not exceeding 100 USD.
For adults cultivating above six plants of marijuana in California remains a crime. Defendants planting, harvesting, cultivating, or possessing more than six marijuana plants may face a misdemeanor charge with imprisonment for up to 6 months in county jail or a fine not exceeding 500 USD.
Additionally, a defendant cultivating more than six plants will face California felony when :
- The defendant had two or more prior convictions for planting more than six marijuana plants.
- The defendant registered sex offenses
- You have severe felonies on your records
- You violated certain environmental laws when cultivating marijuana.
Possessing Marijuana With Intent to Sell- HS 11359
In California, proposition 64 legalized the selling of marijuana by businesses operating per the local and state license. Therefore, possessing marijuana with the intent of selling remains a crime under 11358 HS.
The crime is a misdemeanor for the adult defendant which carry the following penalties:
- A fine not exceeding 500 USD
- Imprisonment of up to 6 months in county jail
Additionally, possessing marijuana with the intent of selling without a license is a felony when the following factors are true:
- The defendant has two previous misdemeanor convictions for possessing marijuana for sale.
- The defendant possessed marijuana for sale and attempted to sell it to someone under 18 years.
- The defendant has one of the previous convictions, specifically serious violent felonies like vehicular manslaughter, murder, sex crimes against someone under 14years, or sexually violent offenses.
The defendants with a felony crime, possessing marijuana with intent to sale will be punishable with imprisonment for up to 3 years in county jail. Circumstantial evidence may be used in proving an intent to sell marijuana without a license. The pieces of evidence are:
- Large quantities of marijuana
- Presence of weapon or cash
- Pot divided into multiple containers or bags.
- Presence of items like scales and baggies
- The option of the arresting officer showing the marijuana was up for sale.
Selling of Marijuana Without A License- HS 11360
In California, you can only sell marijuana when you have a valid license to sell marijuana. The bureau of marijuana control issues the license. Therefore, when you don't have the permit, transporting or selling is a crime under 11360 HS.
Unlicensed marijuana selling is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment up to 6 months or a fine not exceeding 1000 USD.
However, transporting or selling of marijuana without a license is a felony to the following defendants;
- You had two or more previous convictions for HS 11360.
- The defendants attempted to sell, knowingly sold, or offered to sell to someone under 18years.
- When the defendant had a previous conviction for one of the particularly severe counseling such as sex crimes that require them to register as sex offenders, murder, gross vehicular manslaughter, or sexually violent offenses.
- When the defendant attempted to import or imported into California, transported, and attempted to transport out of California, more than 4 grams of concentrated cannabis or 28.5 grams of marijuana.
Under these scenarios, transportation or black market sale of marijuana under HS 11360 is punishable by imprisonment of up to 4 years. However, transporting marijuana unintentionally to sell or giving it away isn't a crime in California apart from when:
- You gave marijuana to someone under 21 years.
- You gave away or transported more than 4 grams of concentrated cannabis, or you gave away more than 28.5 grams.
Selling Of Marijuana to Minor- HS 11361
11361 HS is clear that marijuana should not be sold to those aged below 21. Additionally,
the law is clear that it is illegal to:
- Sell marijuana minor
- Induce marijuana use by a minor
- Hire a minor to transport, prepare for sale, sell or give away cannabis.
Violating 11361HS in California is a felony. Anyone aged 18 years or older when violets the law if:
- You hire, use, or employ a minor to transport or sell marijuana
- When you unlawfully sell or offer marijuana to minor under the age of 14
- When you induce a minor to use cannabis
The offenders violating HS 11361 should serve their sentences in state prison. If a minor below the age of 14 is involved, the penalty is:
- Imprisonment for 3,5,7 years
When the minor’s age is above 14 but below eighteen, the punishment includes 3,4 or 5 years imprisonment in state prison.
Notably, longer terms apply when you :
- Induce a minor of any age to use marijuana
- Sell marijuana to a minor of any age.
- Give marijuana to a minor under 14 years.
- Use a minor of any age to sell, give away, or transport marijuana.
What is Concentrated Cannabis?
In California, concentrated cannabis constitutes the separated resin(either purified or crude) derived from marijuana plants. The drug is also referred to as hash or hashish. In California law, Concentrated cannabis is considered as marijuana. Possessing concentrated cannabis for recreational use is illegal. However, you may possess up to eight grams for personal use. When you are above the age of 21, possessing and transporting more than 8 grams is considered a misdemeanor punishable by:
- Improvement up to six months imprison
- A fine up to 500 USD
The penalties for Concentrated manufacturing cannabis depend on the method used.
When you use chemical synthesis, you receive a maximum fine of 50,000 USD and a 3 to 7 prison sentence. However, if you used other methods excluding chemical synthesis like press, screen, you may receive a prison sentence between 16 months and three years.
Driving Under Influence /With Marijuana
California vehicle code 23222 prohibits driving in possession of marijuana. Driving with Marijuana is considered an infraction punishable by a fine up to 100 USD. Additionally, the law prohibits driving under drug influence. The California vehicle code 23222 makes it illegal and a misdemeanor to drive under marijuana influence.
Driving under Marijuana influence is considered an infraction punishable by a fine up to 100 USD. A driver under marijuana influence is regarded as a potential danger to himself and other road users. There is no per sen amount of marijuana to establish the driver's inability to drive. There are few methods used by law enforcement to determine whether the driver is under the influence of marijuana:
- The driver's eyes
The law enforcement officers examine the driver's eyes to check unusual redness, dilated pupils, and puffiness.
- The officers may smell marijuana scent from the driver's clothes, breath, or the smell of the car.
- Police officers may test sobriety tests to determine whether your actions are unusual or slow.
- The law officers may find marijuana in your car.
- Law enforcement may require you to take Chemical tests.
In California, the laws removed penalties for possession, use, and marijuana cultivation for users with a doctor's recommendation. Furthermore, people under 21 are allowed to cultivate medical marijuana with a doctor's recommendation. The law states the number of plants that could be grown.
Who is Entitled to Medical Marijuana in California?
You are supposed to use medical marijuana with a doctor’s approval. The approval should be to treat severe medical conditions, including arthritis, migraines, cancer, anorexia, seizures, AIDs, and other deliberating conditions such as chronic pain, headaches, and nausea.
Patients in the registry needing assistance in obtaining medical marijuana are allowed to designate a primary caregiver. Additionally, a primary caregiver is responsible for the patient's safety, housing, and health. A primary caregiver must be at least 18 years and consistently assume the patients’ health, safety, and housing responsibility.
Legal Permits For Medical Marijuana Patients and Primary Caregiver
California laws permit cultivation, administration transportation, and the possession of medical marijuana if:
- The amount possessed relates reasonably to the patient's medical needs.
- It is for the patient's use.
However, the marijuana patient and caregivers must not sell, cultivate, or possess more marijuana than the required amount for the patient's medical use.
Distribution of Medical Marijuana
In California, the law permits the distribution of medical marijuana through dispensaries. Medical dispensaries are open in California for adults of 21 years with doctor's approval. The dispensary is legally allowed to give Marijuana to caregivers and medical marijuana patients.
California Federal Law
In California, cannabis is still illegal under federal law. California treats marijuana as a schedule one drug that is highly addictive. Additionally, the California federal law considers marijuana to have no medical benefit rather a higher potential of abuse. According to federal law, marijuana is treated like other controlled substances, including heroin and cocaine. The law applies to anyone possessing, selling, giving away, cultivating, or distributing large marijuana quantities. Additionally, the law does not exempt those abiding by recreational marijuana or medical marijuana law.
How The Federal Law Applies in Federal Property in California
The California federal law prevents the growing, possession, and use of marijuana on federal land. California federal law is applicable on federal property for marijuana consumers in both medical and recreational use. The federal property includes federal buildings, courthouses, national parks, post offices, and public airports. If you violate marijuana law on federal property, it receives severe punishments and penalties. Drug crimes occurring in the federal property receive more significant penalties than those occurring somewhere else.
Penalties For Violating Federal Law
Possessing marijuana is punishable by:
- imprisonment in federal prison up to a year.
- A fine up to 1000 USD
Possessing marijuana intending to sell, cultivate, and selling not more than 50 pounds or 50 plants is punishable by:
- A fine up to 250,000 USD
- Imprisonment up to five years in federal prison
Additionally, suppose you sell greater marijuana quantities or subsequent offenses, the fines and incarceration periods increase when you had prior drug offense convictions. In this case, you may compensate the government for the incurred costs in investigating the crime.
Sale of Marijuana and Immigration Consequences
When a non-citizen possesses marijuana for the personal use of fewer than 30 ounces is punishable by probation or completing a rehabilitation program. However, if the defendant has more than 30 ounces grams of marijuana, they will face deportation. Notably, immigration consequences increase with severe offenses like transportation, sale, or cultivation of the drug.
A criminal conviction for an inadmissible crime or deportable crimes leads to severe consequences for their immigration status. Alternatively, the defendant may seek competent lawyers to guide non-citizens and find solutions related to immigration problems caused by marijuana.
Find A Criminal Attorney Near Me
Facing criminal charges for violating marijuana laws could be traumatic, confusing, and overwhelming. Therefore, you require the assistance of a seasoned attorney to help fight for the dismissal or reduction of your charges. At San Jose Criminal Attorney Law Firm, we have the necessary resources and knowledge in building a strong defense tailored to your circumstances and case. Additionally, we have a history of client satisfaction and success across San Jose. Call us at 408-622-0204 and speak with our legal experts for a free consultation.