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Penalties for Marijuana Possession in California

Marijuana is all over the news and for good reason. In recent years, marijuana has been found to help all kinds of medical conditions naturally, including: anorexia, cancer, chronic pain, HIV or Aids, glaucoma, migraines, nausea, seizures and many more.

So many people all over the world are touting the benefits of marijuana that state legislatures are taking notice. As of this writing, 21 states have “decriminalized” possessing small amounts of marijuana for personal use and California is one of them.

If you’re used to the old laws where being caught with a little pot meant that you would be arrested on the spot, you may not be sure what decriminalizing means.

Decriminalizing basically means that if someone’s caught with a small amount of marijuana for personal use (first offense), they will not be arrested, they will not go to jail, and they will not get a criminal record. So, what will happen if you’re caught with marijuana in your possession? For example, what if you’re pulled over and the police notice a baggie of pot in your vehicle?

What does the law say about possession?

In California, you can still get into trouble with marijuana, but it all depends on the circumstances of the case and how much marijuana you have on you. If you have 28.5 grams or less (approximately one ounce), then you are guilty of an infraction, which is punishable by a fine not to exceed $100.

If you’re caught with more than 28.5 grams, then you’re entering misdemeanor territory and you face up to 6 months in jail and a fine not to exceed $500.

If you have 28.5 grams or less of marijuana and you happen to be 18 or older and on school grounds, you’d be guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 10 days in jail and a fine not to exceed $500.

So, if you drive to your child’s school to pick them up or attend a parent-teacher conference, you better not have marijuana in your vehicle, in your pocket, or in your purse, otherwise, you could face criminal charges.

While possessing 28.5 grams or less is a mere infraction punishable by a maximum fine of $100 in California, once you decide to sell or deliver marijuana, even less than an ounce, you face felony charges.

Under California law, if you sell any amount of marijuana, you face felony charges and 2 to 4 years in prison. If you give away 28.5 grams or less of marijuana, you’d be guilty of a misdemeanor and have to pay a $100 fine, but you would not have to go to jail.

Looking for an Orange County criminal defense lawyer to defend your drug charges? Contact the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry for a free case evaluation!