Knowledgeable Lawyer Navigates the Changing Landscape of Cannabis Law
In California, state laws regarding the cultivation, possession, distribution and use of marijuana have been changing rapidly. Many people who grow pot or use it medicinally or recreationally don’t yet understand how the law has changed and the precise limits of the freedom they now enjoy. Moreover, federal law still maintains severe penalties associated with a Schedule I drug, so a person can be in compliance with state law and still be liable to severe penalties under federal law. If you are confused about the complex and contradictory legal landscape, you should speak to a knowledgeable attorney who can help you avoid making a costly mistake. If you’ve been arrested on a marijuana offense, the Law Office of Ronald L. Freeman can provide skilled representation to help you obtain a favorable resolution of the charges.
California Law Regarding Marijuana
January 1, 2018 was a big day for California state marijuana law, when many reforms went into effect. On that date, it became legal for anyone 21 years of age or older to purchase one ounce of marijuana daily from a licensed distributor. However, not every city in the state is willing to issue marijuana licenses to shops. So, if you purchase pot from an unlicensed source, that’s against the law. It is also against the law for you to sell pot to another person, even an adult over the age of 21.
If you are over the age of 21, you are permitted to grow up to six marijuana plants in your home, as long as you keep them out of public view. Again, local governments can set rules, so your city might require you to register and pay for a permit.
Important Limitations on Your Legal Use of Marijuana
Even if you came by your pot legally, you cannot smoke it in public. If you do, you could be fined from $100 to $250. You cannot smoke pot while driving, just as you cannot drink alcohol while driving. You also cannot drive under the influence of pot. You must also store your pot in a sealed container while transporting it in a car. If the seal is broken, you must transport the pot in your trunk as you would an unsealed container of alcohol. A violation subjects you to a $70 fine.
You cannot take marijuana on a plane with you, even if it’s medicinal and even if the plane is only flying within California. You cannot transport your pot across state lines, even if you’re going to a state where it is legal.
It’s also worth mentioning that a landlord can ban pot on his or her property, so you should check your lease before assuming you can smoke at home. Finally, employers are permitted to test workers for marijuana consumption and can fire them if they fail a drug test.
What to Do if You Are Cited or Arrested on a Marijuana Charge
Even under current state law, the following acts are crimes:
- Possession of marijuana by anyone under 21 — This is an infraction calling for drug counseling and community service for defendants under 18 and a fine of up to $100 for defendants 18 and older.
- Possession of more than 28.5 grams of marijuana or more than 4 grams of concentrated cannabis — For anyone over the age of 18, this is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in county jail and a fine of up to $500.
- Possession of marijuana or concentrated cannabis on school grounds — For anyone 18 or older, a first offense is a misdemeanor, calling for a fine of up to $250.
- Cultivating more than six marijuana plants — This is a misdemeanor for most defendants, punishable by six months in jail and a fine of up to $500, but defendants with a prior criminal record can be charged with a felony.
- Possession with intent to sell — For most defendants, this is a misdemeanor, punishable by six months in jail and a fine of up to $500, but defendants with a prior criminal record can be charged with a felony, punishable by up to three years in jail.
Finally, although it’s unlikely you will be charged by a federal authority for a marijuana crime in California, you could be. If the FBI arrests you, you could face federal charges for crimes such as possession with intent to sell, which carries a penalty of five years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
Given the consequences of a marijuana conviction, you must assert your right to remain silent and to have an attorney at your side. Immediately contact our office so that we can protect your rights and provide a determined defense to the charges.
Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney Who Fights Marijuana Charges in Southern California
If you’ve been arrested for a marijuana violation anywhere in San Bernardino County or Riverside County, the Law Office of Ronald L. Freeman can provide the steadfast representation you need to obtain a favorable outcome. Please call 909-347-7389 or contact me online to schedule a free initial consultation at my San Bernardino or Riverside office.