Marijuana Charges

Medical Marijuana laws in California

Marijuana used for medical purposes has been shown to eliminate many painful side effects of certain serious illnesses such as cancer and AIDS. The people of the state of California have legalized marijuana use for medial purposes because they have recognized the medicinal importance of marijuana as a medical drug. Through the California Compassionate Use Act of 1996/Proposition 215 and California Senate Bill 420/Medical Marijuana Implementation, Californians have legalized possession, use and cultivation of medical marijuana.

 

California Marijuana laws are structured such that certain code section of the Health and Safety Code (H&S) make it illegal to possess, cultivate, transport or sell marijuana but other sections of the code are enacted as exceptions to the general prohibition and these exceptions as you may see below are the codes that govern medicinal uses of marijuana in California.

Possession of Marijuana Generally

California Health and Safety Code Section 11357(a) –states in pertinent part- Except as authorized by law, every person who possesses any concentrated cannabis shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for a period of not more than one year or by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500), or by both such fine and imprisonment, or shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison.

This code section makes it illegal to have or possess concentrated cannabis and can be charged as a MISDEMEANOR or a FELONY with a maximum sentence of 3 years in state prison.

Subsection (b) of this same code section, deals with the possession of less than 1oz (one ounce/28.5grams) of marijuana and makes it a MISDEMEANOR only. In many cases, for a first time possession of under an ounce charge, our attorneys can negotiate with the court to allow the person charged to complete an 8hour program and upon successful completion to have the charges DISMISSED.

 

If a person has been convicted of 3 or more charges for possession within a 2 year period of time, they will most likely have to do a Drug Diversion program known as P.C. 1000. 

Subsection (c) of this same code section, deals with the possession of over an ounce (more than 28.5grams) of marijuana and makes it punishable by a maximum imprisonment in county jail for a period of not more than 6 months and fines.

 

Cultivation - California Health and Safety Code Section 11358- Every person who plants, cultivates, harvests, dries, or processes any marijuana or any part thereof, except as otherwise provided by law, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison. Straight FELONY.

 

Possession for Sale- California Health and Safety Code Section 11359 - Every person who possesses for sale any marijuana, except as otherwise provided by law, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison. Straight FELONY.

Transportation generally- California Health and Safety Code Section 11360(a) - Except as otherwise provided by this section or as authorized by law, every person who transports, imports into this state, sells, furnishes, administers, or gives away, or offers to transport, import into this state, sell, furnish, administer, or give away, or attempts to import into this state or transport any marijuana shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for a period of two, three or four years. Straight FELONY.

 

Transportation less than 1 oz- California Health and Safety Code Section 11360(b) - Except as authorized by law, every person who gives away, offers to give away, transports, offers to transport, or attempts to transport not more than 28.5 grams of marijuana, other than concentrated cannabis, is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine of not more than one hundred dollars ($100).

 

Possession of Marijuana for Medical Purposes

California Health & Safety Code Section 11362.5(c) –states- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no physician in this state shall be punished, or denied any right or privilege, for having recommended marijuana to a patient for medical purposes.

 

California Health & Safety Code Section 11362.5(d) –states- Section 11357, relating to the possession of marijuana, and Section 11358, relating to the cultivation of marijuana, shall not apply to a patient, or to a patient's primary caregiver, who possesses or cultivates marijuana for the personal medical purposes of the patient upon the written or oral recommendation or approval of a physician.

 

These sections basically amended the states law to allow the possession, use and growing of marijuana to patients for their personal use when recommended by a physician.

 

California Health & Safety Code Section 11362.77 –states in pertinent part- (a) A qualified patient or primary caregiver may possess no more than eight ounces of dried marijuana per qualified patient. In addition, a qualified patient or primary caregiver may also maintain no more than six mature or 12 immature marijuana plants per qualified patient. (b) If a qualified patient or primary caregiver has a doctor's recommendation that this quantity does not meet the qualified patient's medical needs, the qualified patient or primary caregiver may possess an amount of marijuana consistent with the patient's needs. (c) Counties and cities may retain or enact medical marijuana guidelines allowing qualified patients or primary caregivers to exceed the state limits set forth in subdivision (a).

 

There are many other sections of the Health and Safety code that define “attending physicians,” “primary care physicians”and“primary caregivers” that might be pertinent to a medical marijuana case.

Despite the legality of medical marijuana many times patients, caregivers and doctors are charged with marijuana related crimes. Anyone charged for possession of marijuana whether it is for simple possession or for medical purposes, should consult an attorney.

 

Please note, a doctor's prescription to use marijuana obtained after the person is charged with possession generally will not be a defense to the charges.

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