In recent years, California’s marijuana laws have become more complex. Some offenses have been decriminalized, but others still carry heavy sentences. For clarification of these laws, read on.
California recently decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana. Possession of less than an ounce is now an infraction with a penalty of a $100 fine, while possession of larger amounts is a misdemeanor subject to a $500 fine and up to six months in jail. However, some offenders are eligible for enrollment in a treatment program instead of going to jail. On the other hand, any evidence of possession with intent to distribute increases the severity of the charge significantly. Intent to distribute is a felony that carries from 16 months to three years in jail.
Possession of small amounts of marijuana may have been decriminalized, but the same cannot be said for cultivation. Anyone who grows or cultivates marijuana faces a felony charge and up to three years in prison.
Medical Use of Marijuana
Since 1996, doctor-approved use of marijuana to treat debilitating illnesses like cancer and multiple sclerosis has been legal in California. A 2003 amendment imposed regulations on the amount of marijuana a patient could possess. It is legal for a person with a prescription for marijuana to possess up to eight ounces of marijuana, in addition to 6 mature or 12 immature plants. The amendment left local governments free to legalize possession of larger amounts of marijuana, if they choose.
Marijuana on Federal Lands
Federal lands within the state of California, such as national parks, are not subject to the state’s laws regarding marijuana. Even patients with prescriptions for marijuana risk being arrested if they bring the substance on federal property.
California’s laws regarding marijuana possession are more lenient than many other states’, but it is still possible to encounter significant legal trouble if you are accused of possessing large amounts or cultivating it. If you need defense against marijuana charges in San Jose, call (408) 916-1413 to schedule an appointment with an attorney at Hinkle, Jachimowicz, Pointer & Emanuel Law.