San Diego Marijuana Crime Attorney
As of January 1, 2018, it is legal to use marijuana for recreational purposes in California. This law was voted in when Proposition 64 was passed by voters, but there are still some stipulations. It is not legal for everyone to use marijuana and there are very strict conditions placed on those who want to sell or grow marijuana. When individuals step outside of these restrictions, they are violating the law and face penalties that range from minor to severe.
While recreational marijuana is now legal, there are still restrictions placed on who can use it. Currently, only adults over the age of 21 may use recreational marijuana; the same as the legal drinking age. Those who choose to use marijuana may not carry or possess more than 28.5 grams of marijuana at a time. Carrying or possessing any amount of marijuana on the grounds of any K-12 school while school is in session is also illegal.
Minors in possession of marijuana will face infraction charges, regardless of where or how much. Violating this law will result in drug counseling and community service. Minors who are over the age of 18 will have to pay a fine up to $100.
Adults in possession of more than the 28.5 grams the law allows will be charged with a misdemeanor offense. If found guilty, they face up to six months in county jail and a fine up to $500.
Those 18 and older who are in possession of marijuana on school grounds while school is in session will likely face a misdemeanor charge, for which they will have to pay up to a $250 fine.
Proposition 64 also amended the California Health and Safety Code to allow the majority of adults over the age of 21 to grow up to six marijuana plants. Violating this law comes with much more severe penalties than illegally possessing the drug. Most often, violators will receive a misdemeanor charge with penalties of up to six months in county jail and/or a fine up to $500. In some cases, violation of this law can result in a felony charge, usually when the defendant is or has:
- A registered sex offender
- A history of serious violent crimes
- Two or more prior convictions for violating the same offense
- Violated California environmental laws while growing marijuana
Individuals under the age of 21 are prohibited from growing marijuana. Those who are found guilty of violating this law and are under 18 will receive an infraction, have to attend drug counseling, and perform community service. Those who are over the age of 18 but under the age of 21 can be fined up to $100.
Possession with Intent to Sell
The sale of marijuana is legal in the state of California, but only for those who have obtained a proper state (and possibly local) license to do so from the Bureau of Marijuana Control. Selling marijuana without a proper license is still a crime throughout the state. In most cases, those found in violation of this law will be charged with a misdemeanor, which carries a penalty of up to six months in county jail and a fine up to $500.
A misdemeanor charge of possession with intent to sell may be increased to a felony charge if:
- A person has a prior conviction for a serious violent felony such as a sex crime, murder, or gross vehicular manslaughter.
- A person has two or more prior misdemeanor convictions for possession with intent to sell.
- A person possessed marijuana with intent to sell to a person he or she knew was under the age of 18.
A felony conviction can include penalties of 16 months to three years in county jail.
DUIDs and Driving with Marijuana
Driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) is a very serious offense in California, and marijuana counts as a drug when someone is suspected or charged with this offense. The law does not differentiate between illegal or prescribed drugs, so it does not matter if you are using medical marijuana or recreational marijuana.
Currently, there is no exact blood toxicity level that can determine whether or not a person was too drugged to drive, as there is with alcohol. For this reason, individuals who are going to drive should refrain completely from using marijuana beforehand.
The penalties for driving under the influence of drugs are similar to driving under the influence of alcohol. Penalties include DUI probation for three to five years, fines up to $1,800 for a first offense, mandatory California DUI school, suspension of a driver’s license, and possible jail time.
If a person under the influence of drugs is charged and has even one prior felony DUI conviction or three prior DIU misdemeanors, the charge can be increased to a felony. If a person is under the influence of drugs and causes an accident that injures someone else, the driver may also be facing felony charges.
It is also important to note that, even if the driver is not under the influence of drugs, it is against the law to drive with marijuana. This law is similar to California’s open container laws. Driving with marijuana in the vehicle is an infraction that carries a fine up to $100.
When You Need an Attorney
Facing misdemeanor charges may not seem that bad, considering penalties for felonies can be much worse. However, even one misdemeanor conviction can carry jail time and remain on a person’s permanent criminal record, which could result in more severe charges later on.
If you have been charged with violating California’s marijuana laws, you need to speak to a San Diego drug crime attorney. JD Law can help get your charge reduced or even thrown out, as we are experienced in many defenses to these charges. Call us today at (760) 630-2000. We can help you fight the charges, so you can get on with your life. Your initial consultation is free.