If you smoke marijuana, you need to know the marijuana laws to avoid getting in trouble. Most people do not consider Marijuana to be a hard drug, or one that causes serious addictions. However, California still considers Marijuana to be a drug and an illegal one at that. Because of California Health and Safety Code 11357b, since January of 2011 the possession of one ounce or less of marijuana is an infraction that can be punished my a maximum fee of $100, but no criminal record—there can be added fees, however, and those fees could raise the cost to about $500. Prior to this law in 2011, being caught with one ounce or less of marijuana would mean that you would have a misdemeanor on your record. Today, possession of marijuana in quantities of more than one ounce can be considered misdemeanors and can get you a fine of more than $500 as well as up to 6 months in jail under Health and Safety Code 11357c.
On November 5, 2014 Proposition 47 passed in the State of California which had an effect on marijuana laws. Under this proposition being in possession of hashish or concentrated marijuana is a misdemeanor under Health and Safety Code 11357a. Officers cannot arrest someone or put him or her in jail for possessing less than one ounce of marijuana but they often get around this rule by charging them with felony intent to sell.
There are federal charges that can be brought up against you because marijuana is still considered illegal under the federal Controlled Substances Act. These charges are usually brought in large cases where there is evidence of commercial distribution.
Proposition 36 states that first time and second time offenders of possession alone can ask for treatment rather than going to jail. If a person is charged with possession with intent to sell they cannot ask for a treatment center over jail. Individuals who are charged with possession and cultivation for personal use can sometimes avoid conviction if they complete a diversion program. In order to do this they must sign a preguilty plea under Penal Code 1000 and at the completion of their diversion program their charges are dismissed.
In this sense, marijuana is defined as all parts of the Cannabis plant—whether they are growing or not. This means that seeds, resin, buds, leaves… anything related to these parts of a Cannabis plant is considered marijuana. The parts that are not considered marijuana are the stalks of the plant, fiber from the stalks and the oil or cake made from the seeds of the plant. If a cop catches someone with a scale, more cash than expected, packages and such things, they may believe that the individual is intending on selling the marijuana they have. This can lead to a possession with an intent to sell charge under Health and Safety Code 11359. Only people who grow marijuana for personal use and have a medical card that enables them to do so are able to grow plants legally. You cannot drive while under the influence of marijuana—it is illegal under Vehicle Code 23152.
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If you or a loved one is facing a marijuana related charge, you need an aggressive Orange County criminal defense lawyer on your side. With offices in Costa Mesa, we serve people throughout Southern California, including in Huntington Beach, Irvine, Santa Ana, Costa Mesa, and Los Angeles. Call (855) 505-5588 or contact us online for a free initial consultation.